Archetypal astrology emphasizes the liberating effect of creative imagination and mindfulness fueled by the powerfull archetypal images of the Western astrological language. It is part of the humanistic current of contemporary astrology. Astrology, the ‘discourse of the planets’, is directly connected to psychology, the ‘discourse of the soul’. The ancient myths of the gods and goddesses, whose qualities – positive and negative – were projected on the planets, can still nurture a symbolic attitude and give meanings to our individual qualities – positive and negative.
« More damaging than the death of God is the unawareness of the gods. Because it is much more damaging to deny the pluralities which compose and govern us rather than to deny a one an only theoretical God who would be the prime principle but nothing else ». (Gilbert Durand)
The psychological polytheism inherent to astrology invites us to become aware of those ‘gods’ and ‘goddesses’ living inside of our psyche in order to reconcile those ‘pluralities that govern us’. No reductive determinism here but an invitation to use the astrological chart to establish a dialogue with those different – and often paradoxical – parts inherent to every human psyche.
If life can be compared to a play then the astrological planets would be the actors, their zodiacal signs at birth would specify their specific character, the astrological houses they dwell in would stand for the different stages where things happen and the astrological aspects that connect the planets would evoke the quality of the relationships between the actors.
The role of each individual given this scenario in the form of a birth chart is to meet the responsabilities and become the director of their own play. Imagination, intelligence, compassion, sense of humour, love, patience, resilience, philosophy are but a few ingredients we are invited to develop and become the best possible director in the limits of who we are. Reconciliation with those limits is a prerequesite for success. Making the best of our paradoxes is another necessary endeavor.
Archetypal astrology owes its current evolution to depth psychology and specifically to the immense opus of Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1971) and also to the archetypal psychology of James Hillman (1926-2011). From the earliest advise of Socrates to follow the recommendation written on the temple of Apollo in Delphi – ‘Know thyself’ – to the later invitation of Nietzsche to ‘Become what you are’, the purpose of archetypal astrology is not to wonder what will eventually happen to us but rather to attempt to find an answer to the question «who am I ? ».
The process of individuation as described by Jung is the conscious realization and integration of all the possibilities contained within an individual. Introspection is a prerequisite to sort out what is really mine from what is the result of external conditioning. The archetypal images of the birth chart present a unique cosmic projection of the different fragments which compose each individual microcosm. This symbolic projection offers a key to enter into the world of the unconscious, feed instrospection and embark into the individuation process.
The multiple facets of the archetypal images do not bode well for a literal interpretation in astrology – nor in dream work. On the contrary, it opens a whole new field of possibilities and this is where the imaginal function of the soul as masterly disclosed in James Hillman’s archetypal psychology reawakens new perspectives for the usefulness of astrology. Feeding our imagination with the wealth and inspiration of mythological images has revealed itself very liberating for the mind and soul. Living in harmony with who we are is both meaningful and rewarding. This requires attention and personnal commitment.
In order to allow everyone access to archetypal astrology, an English translation of ‘Écriture Céleste’ (published in French with Dervy, Paris, 2015) as ‘Celestial Writing – An essay on Archetypal Astrology’ is on its way and will hopefully be available by the end of 2016.