« Invented by the Mesopotamians to establish a dialogue with their gods and goddesses through the intervention of celestial bodies, astrology was designed to connect mankind to a worldly realm that seemed overwhelming. Western civilization relied on this vast mythology to think and organize the natural and supernatural world in categories that lend meaning to life. Astrology belongs therefore to the very first attempt to systematize and modelize the world. Yet, the cosmic beauty of the model is not enough to guarantee neither its reliability nor its efficacy. Even if this process of organizing the human complexity in categories projected on an orderly cosmos remains unsurpassed for people inclined to cultivate a symbolic attitude towards life, it does require to be analyzed with rigour and logic to avoid the usual pitfall of credulity and superstition.
In the first part, this book investigates the history of Western astrology to reach an evaluation of the usefulness of this poetic astronomy in the 21st century. Five thousand years after its invention, can it still inspire our imagination to give meaning to those personal experiences that seem out of comprehension ? Issues are exposed about determinism and free-will, about the role played by myths and symbols in our quest for meaning and about the emergence of depth psychology to care for the soul since the beginning of the last century.
The second part offers a practical interpretation of the astrology language – with the traditional elements, planets, signs, houses and aspects – geared towards a personal reflection upon the archetypal images of the zodiac. Staying away from technical jargon, ready made recipes and reductive case examples, it is designed to stimulate creative imagination while opening up new perspectives to deal with life experiences.
Written for novices and experts alike, Christine Gonze Conrad presents a captivating essay to bring new insights to an ancient art that is still challenging to this day. Trained in humanistic astrology and well informed in the depth psychology of C.G.Jung and James Hillman, the author speaks for an archetypal astrology aimed to support a psychological and spiritual quest through self-knowledge and appreciation of the world.»
About the author…
Born in the French speaking part of Belgium, I have lived abroad and travelled extensively since my early twenties in search of new horizons both literally, esthetically and philosophically. After living in London and Paris, I travelled in Africa from North to South and West to East, then settled in Rome for eight years to study pottery. Back in Brussels I launched a succesfull small company to produce coordinated home accessories in ceramic and textile then moved to the United States to fulfill a bed and bath linen designer contract in New York.
It was a twist of fate in my mid-thirties that lead to my encounter with a psychological astrologer on the East coast of the US where I lived for twenty years. In the midst of a serious re-evaluation of my professional and private life, I was lucky to benefit from a few psycho-astrological sessions filled with relevant questions allowing me to link this difficult experience with the symbolism of my astrological chart. The paradoxes that were telescoping inside of me and preventing any coherent choices were symbolicaly exposed. No simplistic explanations nor reductive predictions of what would or would not happen was proposed, but the possibility to look at myself at a distance through the scenario of the archetypal actors of the zodiac. I learned to observe the planetary cycles as a way to attract my attention on how to integrate those paradoxical needs and desire in the economy of a well rounded life. It was a revelation that erased the frustrating reminiscence of two or three former astrological consultations where the anecdotical had always taken over the psychological and spiritual dimension of this celestial writing.
The following years were dedicated to the active learning of the astrological language and the traditional delineating techniques of the natal chart and derived versions with American teachers who offered, each in their own way, different perspectives on this ancient art. At the same time, a latent interest for the secrets of the soul led me to attend the conferences and seminars presented by the two local C.G. Jung institutes. The conferences and work of James Hillman had a profound influence on linking archetypal psychology and humanistic astrology.
Licenced in the early nineties in humanistic astrology through the NCGR (National Center for Geocosmic Research) and ISAR (International Society of Astrological Research) the main US associations organizing conferences and trainings, I opened a private practice in Pittsburgh, PA and thaught humanistic astrology for six years.
The practice and teaching of humanistic astrology never ceased to astound me about the therapeutic power of its symbolism but also about its danger. An increasing pondering about the role of the astrologer propelled my research on the epistemology of astrology. Is it the power of words that influences life rather than the questionable power of the planets ? What is the extent of free-will versus determinism in front of destiny ? Why do certain coincidences between the planetary position and our experiences on Earth seem meaningful while so many are totally irrelevant ?
Each question would bring another more pertinent question to encourage a responsible practice and a thorough teaching of astrology. Going back to the roots of this art seemed imperative to get its essence, even if for centuries astrologers resorted to a compilation of theories and techniques put together some three thousand years after its invention.
The author shares her life, practice and writing, between Brussels and Pittsburgh, Pa. She consults in French, English and Italian.