Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Dismissal of Astrology: an Arrogance born of Ignorance, not Knowledge

Image courtesy of Robert Wilkinson. Click image to enlarge.

I recently had a polite exchange with a spiritual author, who wrote: ‘I know enough not to put too much stock in superficial astrological events.’ Genuinely curious, I thought of asking him to clarify what he meant by ‘superficial astrological events’, but decided against it because I was pretty darn sure he meant, ‘I know enough to not put too much stock in astrological events’ period.1

It is perpetually bizarre to me that people, educated people, consider their ignorance about astrology to be astute and even wise. It would be one thing if non-adherents freely admitted, ‘I don’t know enough about astrology to understand how it is applicable to anything.’
Lion-Man,
32,000 yrs old
That would be an honest, ego-free, and even humble response. Maybe it would result in the refreshing revelation, ‘I don’t know enough … at all! It is actually my understanding of and treatment of ‘astrological events’ that is superficial or lacking depth. After all, how can events in time and space be superficial? I know nothing about this system of knowledge that has spanned perhaps tens of thousands of years.’ [The figure on right is a 32,000 year old chimera of the signs Leo the Lion and Aquarius the Man which form an axis of the zodiac, the same axis and creature is found in Vedic lore.2]

Perhaps our mind’s painful lack of in-sight is the very basis of the aversion. Astrology represents the black hole of all that modern-day humans do not know about themselves, their Earth, and their cosmos. Add the dynamic nature of Time to the list, and this black hole takes on the nature of a winged dragon, a violent god/goddess, or a sphinx monster that devours its prey.3


At some point in the near future scientists and the spiritual ‘avant-garde’ of our times will have to WAKE UP and realize that we have desperately tried to ‘one up’ the monster of our own Ignorance over the past few thousand years (in the Age of Pisces, 234 BCE – 1926 AD) by labeling THAT which we are ignorant of an illusion, myth, superstition or sin. It was a pretty ingenious plan if you come to think of it ‒ a marvel of the mind trying to orient or ‘right’ itself in the midst of a profound state of disorientation, dis-ease, and despair. Its best response to suffering/ignorance was thus: Dissolve all your celebrations of and attachments to this material life (to your material journey), and rest your consciousness in a motionless Void where the Beast of Time cannot hurt you. Or pray that God will let you into heaven after you leave this ‘god forsaken’ place.

And that is the short version how the ancient knowledge ‒ the knowledge that the material world, the cosmos and the individuals in it are all part of one interconnected and orderly divine journey in time and space that can be measured and navigated ‒ as recorded in the Rig Veda, has become something of a laughing stock in our modern world.

However, many modern-day yogis and visionaries are increasingly finding themselves in a catch-22. They admire the Vedic idea ‒ especially well described by Sri Aurobindo ‒ that individuals, the material world and the cosmos are an interconnected oneness, evolving towards the realization of an Integral and even Supramental consciousness-force. They adopt the IDEA, yet remain oblivious to or flat out refuse the navigational tools/measurements and framework of the Year (Twastri’s Bowl), as extolled by Vedic seers, that would actually take them INTO THE EXPERIENCE of a dynamic Oneness ‒ a Oneness interconnected in ALL its moving pieces and parts.

Even Vedic scholars seem embarrassed, reticent or loathed to admit that the 12 month Zodiac Year is the warp and woof of the Vedic Sacrifice and the Sanatana Dharma [Eternal Truth of Being and Becoming]. But anyone who sincerely looks without a vested interest in denial can see clearly that it IS. Sri Aurobindo saw it, yet many of his students and those pretending to protect his yogic legacy seem absolutely determined to ignore or dismiss the connection between the Vedic Journey and the Supramental Yoga. The Mother even left as her greatest legacy, the design of ‘the Mother’s Temple’ (Matrimandir) based on the 12 months of the Vedic Year, yet still few of her disciples or admirers have ANY INTEREST WHATSOEVER in admitting that that Vedic cosmology has anything to do with Her Yoga.4 This lack of interest and vision is the source of the Integral Yoga community’s splintering and inner turmoil. They have lost the golden seed and golden thread that ties or unites the whole together in a splendid spiraling dance. Hence academics and philosophers can freely swoop in to pick at the carcass of Sri Aurobindo’s Integral knowledge to see what they can use for their own designs … designs that have NOTHING to do with the Vedic Gnosis that Sri Aurobindo was set on restoring for the benefit of the world … to save the world from its own ignorance.5

Once one SEES the 12 month year as the foundation of the Vedic journey (i.e. the foundation of Vedic Gnosis), it becomes more and more painful to listen to people who have not yet SEEN THAT, yammering on about the wonders of the Veda or Vedic philosophies. Without the foundation of Yajna (the Year or ‘Sacrifice’), there is no true Veda or Vision of Oneness, there is no union of the One Self with the Multiplicity of All Being and Becoming … i.e. no Yoga in its highest sense.

That is probably why hardly anyone in our day and age understands the practice of astrology as a Maha Yoga or great unifying journey that builds up and integrates all facets, layers and dimensions of being (from the dense physicality to the subtleties of the soul). Rather clients pay practitioners to interpret various angles, conjunctions, positions and progressions of a chart, and to make predictions or determine auspicious or inauspicious dates. However accurate a modern-day astrologer is at extracting meaning from a horoscope, and however interesting this is for a client to hear, the hard fact is that no one can do yoga for anyone else. Imagine paying someone to practice hatha yoga for you, and expecting to benefit. That would be a joke. So, in this light, perhaps it IS fitting that modern-day astrology is considered something of a joke.

The ascent to the unifying knowledge/gnosis/vision/veda as described by the ancient seers (rishis) requires the aspirant/journeyer/yogi to sit in the seat of the soul, acknowledge one’s entrance into  the 360° field of time and space as no ‘superficial astrological event’, and actively observe the patterns, pulses, harmonies, cadences,  geometries and rhythms that play out from that point, expanding into days, months, years, ages and larger arcs, cycles or circles of time … expanding like concentric circles that travel outward from a point of impact along the surface of water. This is how one becomes the Seer. One lives the veda/vision of the dynamic soul-full Self whose body is the year.

Those who have not taken on this yogic task as described in the ancient Veda, should truly refrain from assuming that their dismissal astrology and the zodiac is evidence of advanced thinking. It is an arrogance born from ignorance, not knowledge.

****

12 February 2011

_________________________________

1 This essay is not a personal grievance between me and the author of the comment. His comment (or my perception of what he meant) simply presented an opportunity to address the issue of our civilization’s ignorance and arrogance treatment of an ancient system of knowledge.   
3 Dragon/Sphinx/Monster's of Time Images (Description & Source):
Sphinx with Youth as Victim; Roman copy from detail on throne of Pheidias' Zeus at Olympia (reconstructed from fragments) Vienna, Ephesus Museum. 
4 See Matrimandir Action Committee's website.
5 The Evolutionary cosmologies and 'integral' teachings of Ken Wilber (All Quadrants All Levels AQAL, 'Four Courners of the Kosmos'), Don Beck (Spiral Dynamics) and Andrew Cohen (Being and Becoming) are all attempts to celebrate integral thought and the evolution of consciousness and to raise the self to a higher consciousness, ‒ attempts that are thoroughly disconnected from Vedic Gnosis. The quadrants, circle maps and evolutionary spirals invented or envisioned by these men are theoretical and philosophical whereas the Earth's four quadrants and cardinal points, and the geometries of the 360° year (as well as the Precession of the Equinoxes) make up the actual body or course of our evolutionary journey, which is the Vedic framework of our Cosmos and our eternal dharma.  
___________________________________________

Related Posts/Links:
* Why Is the Year Divided Into 12 Months? 
* Restoring the Soul of Knowledge in the Age of Aquarius
* Supermind and the Calendar – any Connection? 
* Pirates of the Royal Ship (Strife in Auroville & the Sri Aurobindo Ashram
* In Harmony's Way
* Learning the One Song, Learning the Universe
* A Higher Vision of Time is Needed to Appreciate, Experience and Enjoy the Relationship Between Being and Becoming
* The Geometry and Superstructure of Time
* Time as a Power (Not an Enemy) of the Self
  

2 comments:

  1. Nice Rant ;)
    You should check out Rick Tarnas's "Psyche and Cosmos." He may be an kind of ally in that he is a meticulous scholar and writer and practitioner of serious astrology. He may give you some perspective and material that could help in entering into dialogue with skeptical folks. However, even the most reasoned arguments, I suspect, are futile with folks who have no experiential knowledge of the matters about which you speak. It's the old observation: you can't really describe what chocolate tastes like; you just have to taste it for yourself.
    Looking at it historically, the West generally rejected Astrology with the rise of modernism which really began to emerge during "The Enlightenment." Good old Scientific Materialism. Modernism was a real turning away from interiority and soul. It was also a very necessary and inevitable evolutionary step to become free of autocratic and superstitious worldviews. ( Witness what is happening in Egypt as the forces of a Modern worldview have toppled pre-modern governance.) Modernism is a few centuries old and it is the most powerful world view on the planet right now. But post modernism, which is definitely open to Astrology, is pretty strong. This is the cultural relativism/liberal worldview that deeply respects the interiority of the individual. But, this is more the relationship with Astrology that you criticize, maybe more superficial. And then their is what has been called the Integral Worldview which is on the rise (though still just a few percent of Western Populations are at this stage). The Integral worldview sees Reality in an Evolutionary context, a world-centric, truly global, even Universal-centric. Sri Aurobindo and Co. were true pioneers birthing this new world-view. In this view, there is Whole that is Evolving. And it makes sense that if you look deeply enough into any phenomenon really, but especially cosmic cycles and movements, you will see the intelligence, and beauty of the unfolding or Reality. And with careful study you can learn to read, to See, what is happening on a more essential level. Anyway, just a few thoughts while giving Bo a bath :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the comments Greg, I picked up 'Psyche & Cosmos' at Open Secret last year, flipped through the pages, contemplating purchase ... and put it back down. Don't remember why at this point. Probably because my brain wasn't up for processing the info at that point. I'm sure I'll get to it. I've sent along various articles to him, relating to Patrizia's Yoga/Astrology/Harmonies of the Cosmos, because of his connection to the California Institute of Integral Studies. I've been curious to know how he holds PNB's work. They were both listed as 'Esoteric Evolutionists' in 'Enlighten Next' magazine. http://www.enlightennext.org/magazine/j35/real-evolution-debate.asp?page=9

    ReplyDelete