PSYCHOLOGICAL ASTROLOGY AND JUNGIANISM
-A CRITICAL VIEW-

by Juan Antonio Revilla

 

ABSTRACT

There is a tendency among astrologers today to identify the term "Psychological Astrology" with only one particular brand, characterized by the adoption of Jung's analytical language. This paper offers a broader definition of the field of psychological astrology and a critical perspective of the effects of jungianism on modern Astrology. The example of the commonly accepted meaning given to Neptune is developed in some detail to show the effects of psychological reductionism and the lack of authentic social thinking. The paper presents succintly what the author thinks are the logical flaws from the astrological point of view of popular ideas such as synchronicity and the identification of planets with Jung's psychological archetypes. The focus of the presentation is on the negative effects resulting from the uncritical adoption and subsequent abuse of jungian ideas, and its aim is to provide some rudiments from which these negative effects can be further examined and discussed.


CONTENTS:

I- THE FIELD OF PSYCHOLOGICAL ASTROLOGY
II- THE ROLE OF MERCURY
III- JUNGIANISM AND PSYCHOLOGISM
IV- MYTH AND RULERSHIPS
V- SYNCHRONICITY
VI- ARCHETYPAL ASTROLOGY
VII- ARCHETYPAL ESSENCES
VIII- LIZ GREENE'S NEPTUNE
IX- THE SOCIAL NEPTUNE
X- SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION



I- INTRODUCTION: THE FIELD OF PSYCHOLOGICAL ASTROLOGY

Psychological Astrology, like Psychology, is a very diverse and broad field, with as many possibilities as there are astrologers practicing it; however, there is a tendency to overlook this diversity because many astrologers erroneously identify it exclusively with the Jungian or "depth psychology" type of astrological analysis. The Wikipedia entrance on "Psychological Astrology" is a clear illustration of this error, and it is normal to find the term associated exclusively with the work of Carl Jung and the psychological reductionism of jungian astrologers like Liz Greene. The Wikipedia even mentions Carl Jung as the originator of Psychological Astrology, which is historically ridiculous.

Psychological astrology is what psychological astrologers do. We can define it in simple terms this way: Psychological Astrology is when astrologers deal with the same subject-matter in the life of their clients that psychologists deal with in the life of their patients. But astrologers are not psychologists, so they do it "astrologically", and with time and experience each has or finds his or her own way of doing it, according to his or her personality, talents, limitations, education, cultural background, etc.

Despite the personal differences, however, irrespective of their level of education or their knowledge or training, since they are all using the same astrological tools (astrological charts, time-charting techniques, analytical approaches to chart delineation, etc.), there are certain features of their work that they all have in common. These characteristically astrological features is what differentiates the astrologer from the psychologist when dealing with the same material, and is what allows their clients to choose to go to an astrologer or to a psychologist, or sometimes to both.


II- THE ROLE OF MERCURY

Astrological practice is most of all a linguistic effort where you convert dates and coordinates and all sorts of different abstract relationships into meaningful messages for the client. There are two faces in this: the processing of the all-Mercurial astrological data, and the formation of meaning during the act of astrological interpretation and/or session with the client. A lot happens during a session that has nothing to do with Mercury (or with Astrology!), and the process of formation of meaning itself is not Mercurial, but all the merely astrological information that the astrologer uses during this process is Mercurial, and without the linguistic protocols and special linguistic or Mercurial abilities (e.g. your ability with words) it is not possible to "read" or transmit a coherent picture to your client, or to anybody.

Astrologers are expected to "say", they are, traditionally, "professional sayers", they are expected to read or interpret what the chart and the different techniques applied to it mean for the client, but very often "saying" doesn't help the client a bit psychologically or emotionally, sometimes there is psychological harm in what one says or in how one says it, and one soon realizes that astrologers are not trained as psychologists, they simply have a potentially very sharp, very powerful diagnostic tool with which they can inform and impress their clients, but they cannot do the work of a psychologist.

The work of a psychologist and the work of an astrologer are therefore not the same, and the education of the psychological astrologer should concentrate particularly on learning to keep the two different types of work separate. If he or she is so inclined (and has the necessary training) the two can be combined when working in session with a client/patient, but they are essentially very different and the psychological astrologer does not need to be a psychologist.

Nevertheless, authentic psychological astrologers --as opposed to the traditional "sayers"-- have something in common with psychologists: it is the person, the client or "patient" who comes to see them, the main concern, never the chart. Their job is not "to read the chart", but to help their client. The critical issue for them is not how much accurate astrologically-derived information they can give to the client, but how can they be able to offer something that is therapeutic during the time that the session lasts, how much they can do so the astrological session can have a healing, beneficent effect on the client.

When an astrologer works with people in an astro-psychological session, the single most important tool used is the astrologer's own personality; his practice is always a reflection of his astrological chart, so psychological astrology is not necessarily about this or that tendency or technique of modern psychology and astrology, but about how the astrologer uses his personal resources as shown in his own chart, and no matter what planet is emphasized depending on his personal inclinations shown in his chart, as far as Astrology is concerned Mercury will always be essential focus or filter of his work.


III- JUNGIANISM AND PSYCHOLOGISM

One cannot talk of Psychological Astrology without mentioning 20th Century pioneers like Alan Leo, Marc Edmund Jones, and Dane Rudhyar. Four decades ago, the Humanistic Astrology movement was at its height, and Dane Rudhyar was the indisputable champion. The great mastermind of Psychological or "Humanistic" Astrology, however, was Marc Edmund Jones, who I believe is the greatest astrological thinker of the 20th century, and although he has received recognition for this, he is also one of the least understood and most consistently ignored. He laid the philosophical and theoretical foundations of a modern understanding of Astrology, and yet, while his entire astrological edifice is psychological, his contribution is ignored or misunderstood by astrologers today.

One of the reasons for this denial has been that his astro-psychological approach --unlike Rudhyar's-- did not suffer from the jungianism that dominates the mind of contemporary psychological astrologers. Marc Edmund Jones' pragmatist philosophical and psychological formulation of Astrology is fundamentally incompatible with Jung's ideas, and contrary to what is commonly assumed, it is also free from the theosophism that is mistakenly attributed to it. His great prestige is overshadowed by the incapacity of modern astrologers to appreciate his philosophical and theoretical contribution to the understanding of Astrology today and of the past.

In simple terms we can define "psychologism" as the tendency to interpret every cultural manifestation as an epi-phenomenon of psychological processes to the exclusion of economic, social, political, environmental, and spiritual causal factors: these are always reduced to being manifestations of the individual or collective psyche.

"Jungianism" is one form of psychologism where the assumed psychological processes involved are analyzed in terms of Jungian heuristic terminology such as "psychological archetypes", "the collective unconscious", "the unconscious" as substantive instead of adjective or adverb, mythological narratives and characters as the expression of these psychological archetypes, and Jung's particular symbol theory where the meaning of a symbol is allegedly fixed and universal regardless of context, and symbols are the manifestations of these universal archetypes which have a life of their own in the "collective unconscious" and racial memory of every individual.

Jungianism involves the transposition of ideas used in psychotherapy to the whole gamut of human experience, assuming that Jung's heuristics represents something real (e.g. "the unconscious", "the archetypes"), a reality that is taken for granted, and assuming that astrological symbols are the expression of universal psychological processes or archetypes.

One illustration of jungianism in modern Astrology is the popularly accepted meaning given to Neptune as a psychic process which excludes economics, social class, cultural relativity, politics, history, etc. This is seen particularly when this meaning is conceptualized as a universal "given" instead of as a result of a socially relativistic construction. Another illustration is the excessive or exclusive reliance on mythology to derive astrological meanings, particularly in the case of the new planets, i.e., when Neptune is seen as the god of the oceans, Chiron as the wounded healer, etc. In my opinion, this abuse --or sole use-- of mythological referents is one of the factors that has contributed most to the chaos and confusion of modern Astrology.

NOTE: putting Astrology aside, the most culturally impoverishing result of the abuse of jungianism in contemporary society --in the opinion of the author--  has been the reduction of religious and spiritual experience to manifestations of psychic processes or the action of the so-called jungian "archetypes of the collective unconscious", which deforms and clouds our understanding of those experiences. This reductionism has also facilitated confusing psycho-therapy, psychological well-being, improving the quality of our lives, reaching a healthy emotional balance, etc., with spiritual development and traditional spiritual paths such as Alchemy or Initiation. The impoverishment at the ideological level is concurrent with the materialism of our times, of which Jung's ideas are its children. The materialism is of course not in the subject-matter, but in the viewpoint adopted. For further reading on this please see Harry Oldmeadow "C.G. Jung & Mircea Eliade: Priests Without Surplices? - Reflections on the Place of Myth, Religion and Science in Their Work", part 5: 'The Traditionalist Critique of Jung and Eliade'


IV- MYTH AND RULERSHIPS

In the jungian-astrological sense, myths are the expression of archetypes, and specific mythical characters and narratives are identified with specific planets in psychological or other terms. But in Astrology the role of myth is more complex than making a direct reference to it. Since astrological meanings are not "given" but are constructed as a result of a social process, when we identify a planet with a myth through our astrological education and socialization, the myth becomes ingrained in our thought process and works as a paradigm that consciously or unconsciously directs how we construct the symbolism and interpretation of that planet in our minds.

A good illustration of how meaning is constructed by the myth is the association of Pluto with Scorpio and the 8th house, or of Neptune with Pisces and the 12th, or of Ceres with Virgo and the 6th. In strictly symbolical terms, the sign association is justified most of all by the myth, and the sign then reinforces the association during the process of construction of meaning, as in a feedback mechanism.

For example, Neptune as watery and Lord of the Seas is naturally associated with Pisces, then Pisces reinforces the idea of Neptune as Lord of the Seas = the "watery", piscean, compassionate, humanitarian, sensitive Neptune. Scorpio and the 8th house are naturally associated with death and resurrection, so Pluto as Lord of the underworld with his kidnapped wife Proserpine is assigned to it, and the assignment reinforces the idea of Pluto as related to death and resurrection, regeneration, passion and intensity, darkness and light, the flight of the phoenix... Many observations of Pluto dealing with its manipulative and controlling side, its search for power, its affinity with groups, and others that do not fit the myth on first sight, are then interpreted psychologically as compensation for the fear of death or something similar.

That way, the empirical observations of the action of the planets are processed, interpreted, reproduced, amplified, and classified in terms of the original mythical association, reinforced by the sign association.

The idea is not necessarily that this is wrong; but it is partial and limiting, it rips off important aspects of the action of the planets that are not associated with the myth and are therefore obscured, in need of re-interpretation using a different framework. This is why I think that the mythological paradigm, especially when it is based on 1:1 assignments (e.g. Chiron = wounded healer), if used exclusively or excessively (as is the case in asteroid and new planets research) results in the impoverishment of Astrology.

This abuse of mythology is the equivalent of solar system chaos as defined by astronomers: the orbit begins to expand or contract and propagates into other planetary domains with the consequent loss of structure and predictability. The meaning is no longer astronomical but mythological, the astronomical symbolism is lost, and the myth, which naturally expands and contracts and propagates freely into many different fields and levels of human experience, is forced to fit into a single astronomical symbol.


V- SYNCHRONICITY

If I am a concert pianist, I just go and play. I can open the piano's cover and see its mechanism which is quite simple, regardless of how wonderful and otherworldy the music I play with it can be. But if I have never opened the piano's cover, it is possible that I will believe and repeat some very fancy and unreal notions about what is inside and how the piano works.

A great deal of the adaptation of jungianism by modern astrologers is like this, and stems from inadequate or unreal, previously accepted notions about Astrology's nature and of how it works. The concept of "synchronicity" is an example, and illustrates another feedback mechanism where one notion about the nature of Astrology feeds another that attempts to explain it, which in turn feeds the original notion about what Astrology allegedly is.

The concept of "synchronicity" implies a meaningful correlation between two apparently unrelated events that happen at the same time, such as, in Astrology, astronomical events happening coincidentally with events on earth or in a person's life. This is usually understood as phenomena happening simultaneously, in temporal parallel. A direct concordance and correspondence in time is assumed and required. It is also assumed that Astrology works on the basis of this type of direct concordances between "earth" and "sky".

However, an astrological chart is asynchronous with nature by definition, and astrological tools are asynchronous among themselves. Only the instant for which the chart is made is synchronistic: everything else is done on it a posteriori and is by necessity asynchronous, like different temporal planes that coincide. A common transit of Saturn to the natal Sun illustrates this: the birth Sun corresponds to something that happened a long time ago at the time the person was born, while the position of Saturn is happening many years later; Sun and Saturn belong to different temporal, asynchronous planes, that are made to coincide only at the moment of the reading or interpretation, and only in the imagination, because the event is not really "happenning" in the outside world.

Any astrological chart is an artificial freezing of the unstoppable flow of things, so as to obtain a picture that cannot possibly exist in nature.  The real flow of things in the organic current of time and of nature is ignored by astrologers, who instead measure everything with respect to a highly abstract and artificial diagram completely asynchronous with nature. All this is used to measure or to quantify the flow of life or the organic reality in human consciousness. But the object to which one applies the astrological tools must not be confused with the tools themselves. The tools by themselves are objective measuring devices or "analytical models" that work in different asynchronous time frames that never converge. The simultaneity exists beyond the sphere in which the tools operate, and is found in the sphere where the resulting measurements are manipulated by human consciousness, which makes the results converge in the form of "meaning".

Astrological interpretation and the construction of meaning belong to the sphere of consciousness and synchronicity, but astrological measurements and models are independent of consciousness. In other words: time, like the whole of nature, is always flowing, and all the different times or moments of time can be imagined as converging in consciousness under certain conditions. But this is far away from the world of objective measurements represented by modern science and to a large extent Astrology. Synchronicity therefore can account for the act of interpretation, when the temporal planes of the symbol "transiting Saturn" and of the symbol "natal Sun" are made to coincide or converge in the mind. Inasmuch as astrological interpretation is mediated by the human subject or psyche, it is always synchronistic, but this cannot explain the mechanics through which the different astrological tools and techniques can map reality, because they are asynchronous among themselves and with nature. Synchronicity explains why oracles work at the moment of the "reading", but it refers to the reading of any oracle of any type, and cannot explain specifically how or why Astrology works.


VI- ARCHETYPAL ASTROLOGY AND SYMBOL THEORY

"Archetypal Astrology" assumes that the planets in an astrological chart represent the creative hierarchies or "numens", the spiritual formative forces beyond space and time, and identifies these cosmic agents with Jung's concept of psychological archetypes. But the simplest observation shows the fallacy of this idea: both planets and human consciousnes are two faces of the same time/space manifestation, and the spiritual formative causes transcend them and are necessarily unchartable. Even though one can perceive or "trace" their manifestation as they reveal themselves through time or through "process", astrological charts freeze this creative movement of time and remove themselves from it.

At the time of the ancient Babylonian sky-watchers, Astrology was a cultural response to the perception of the numinosic nature of the movements and configurations of the stars through time in the night sky, that revealed the action of the gods. But the later Greek horoscopics --the Astrology we all practice today-- inasmuch as it is based on charts or "horoscopes", has very little to do with it. The lack of understanding of this difference creates great confusion, because many people can intuitively "feel" the great and lofty truth behind the original Babylonian vision, but cannot see that what astrologers are doing is actually Greek horoscopics, which contradicts it in many ways.

In practice, astrologers start with the real planets and celestial mechanics to build their charts, but once built, they plunge into an abstract symbolical universe which is not related to what in real-time is happening in the sky. This is how Horoscopic Astrology works. We make use of celestial motions not because they speak to us about themselves or about how they affect us, but because by means of special analogic and metaphoric manipulations we transform them into a tool or technological device that guides our minds in the elucidation of the order and the meaning of things. But this meaning is not inherent in a chart, it is not "archetypal": it is being produced by the astrologer and is dependent on context.

Jung believed that the meaning of a symbol was universal and "given", as a result of it being ingrained in the celular structure of our brains. He thought that these universal and fixed meanings were the expression of the same archetypes regardless of culture, context, and history. The effects of the adoption of this notion, identifying it with the symbols in an astrological chart, and the refusal to consider the context-dependent nature of meanings as a result of a social construction process, has had far-reaching consequences in modern Astrology: from the instant, automatic meanings attributed to newly discovered planets based exclusively on the mythology associated with their names, to the sterile and unrealistic statistical testing of context-deprived astrological statements, and the assumption that the meaning of a planet is the same for everybody everywhere regardless of economic status, social class, politics, and culture.


VII- ARCHETYPAL ESSENCES

An astrological planet, in contrast to its astronomical counterpart, is an abstract mathematical point or discrete coordinate that is part of a language. It is used as a factor in a componential system, or more simply a box in a classification scheme, a classification category. The astrologer assigns each element of reality to some specific astrological factor or combination of factors out of convenience and convention. The assignment to a limited set of astrological categories or "correspondences" is often intuitive and subjective, but it can also be done according to conventional rules or "rulerships".

In this process, an astrologer can assign a planet to an archetype in the jungian sense, just like it can be assigned to anything in the universe that shares certain structural qualities or characteristics previously defined by a conventional system of astrological classes or categories ("correspondences"), but this does not make the planet "an archetype" any more than assigning "condensed milk" to the category "dairy products" makes of the category "dairy products" a cow. It is only a matter of classification, since Astrology is primarily a classification system.

This simple fact is however obscured by the idea that an astrological planet or a sign of the zodiac are symbols of some hypothetical "primordial archetypal essence", an idea rooted in archaic religious notions of pre-horoscopic Astrology, when planets and stars were considered to be formative forces and spiritual creative agencies, which later neo-platonists saw as living hypostatic spiritual beings manifesting themselves through the Great Chain of Being.

Jung identified this with his idea of "archetypes of the collective unconscious", and many astrologers have accepted this identification even though in practice it is used simply as a source of "labels" or names for a specific class in their astrological classification schemes. The idea of "archetype" as something real or existing on its own, however, is usually taken for granted, and the result is --in my opinion-- a lot of confusion about something that in reality is very simple.

From the present-day astrological point of view, jungian archetypes are only a language and classification scheme, a heuristic analytic construct. Astrologers believe that they are "real" because they are seeing reality through them, the "archetypes" are that "certain lens" through which reality is interpreted and classified, but the "lens" is only a linguistic category. Jung could not see this and confused the archetypes with the "Creative Hierarchies" of classical Occultism. With the uncritical acceptance of Jung's ideas such as this, the result is the degradation of our understanding of the religious, the spiritual, and the occult.

There is no teleology nor ontology in a sign of the zodiac or in a planet, even though there was at one time thousands of years ago when Astrology started and was something "sacred". The same happens with the calendar in every culture at certain point in its evolution, one which our civilization passed through a long time a go. Right now they are only mathematical abstractions that conform to a system of conventions, a convenient technological device like a clock or a typing machine. They are convenient tools that we use to deconstruct and reconstruct reality in meaningful ways. The tools do not matter as long as they conform to the "rules of the trade", what really matters is what we do with them.

To talk about the ontology and teleology of an astrological symbol (i.e., to conceive astrological symbols as archetypes in the jungian sense instead of simply as classes) is like discussing the immortality of the hands of the clock or the sacred quality of the pages of a calendar. All this is superstitious and archaic and is not needed to be a good astrologer, all that is needed in this respect is a good understanding of the classification structure and the categories of Astrology's special language, so the astrologer can use it effectively and successfully, like a technician who knows well when and how to use each of the tools he carries in his toolbox, and if they fail or break, he knows how to fix them or replace them.


VIII- LIZ GREENE'S NEPTUNE

I began this essay suggesting that Liz Greene exemplifies both the psychological reductionism and the jungianism that pervades modern Psychological Astrology. With this I don't mean to underestimate the high-caliber of her astrological and psychological work. Her prestige in the field of Psychological Astrology is well-deserved. She is a wonderful writer and a deep thinker with profound psychological insight, and her psychologism reaches levels of clarity for her readers seldom touched by other astrological writers before her. She unquestionably has enriched and deepened the field of Psychological Astrology.

Nevertheless, even though her psychological observations are accurate and truthful, they represent the microscopic vision of a specific brand of Psychology only. Her vision of the astrological significance of Neptune illustrates how the dependence on Jung's ideas results in an astrological interpretative model that can be characterized as politically and socio-economically omissive, and which is typical of Astrology today. To demonstrate this I will examine a passage found in page 308 of her book "The Astrological Neptune and the Quest for Redemption" (1996):

"At the time of this writing, the phenomenon of "political correctness" is spreading across North America, and has even pervaded the Saturnian bastions of British society. Although the United States has never even flirted, let alone conducted a love affair with true socialism, Neptune has entered the American political arena in this most curious guise. There is much to be said for an increased public awareness of the religious, racial, and social sensitivities of others, and the eradication of blatantly offensive racist and sexist terminology from media and publications is, in principle, something which any intelligent individual would applaud. But a line appears to have been crossed which threatens to submerge us in shrouds of neptunian fog. An article published in The Times in June 1994 offers an excellent illustration. It reported the case of an excessively overweight woman who threatened to take her local cinema to court because it had not provided double-sized seats for people too large to fit into ordinary ones. Individuals like her, she claimed, had the same rights as other, thinner folk; and such an oversight constituted persecution of a minority. No doubt my description of this case will provoke anger in the politically correct reader. So be it. But are others really responsible for accomodating the rage and envy of those who are perfectly capable of facing and working with their own personal compulsions? Here is the infant demanding that mother, in the form of society (and, ultimately, the taxpayer), gratifies unquestioningly and unconditionally the needs of the unformed personality which does not wish to be born. I do not have the birth horoscope of the particular individual described in The Times, but I am certain that Neptune is very strong in it. in Neptune's watery world, personal grief and anger toward the mother who has not provided enough can be easily transformed into a political perspective which seeks a scapegoat - and scapegoat - for one's expulsion from Eden too soon."

This example is hypothetical because Liz Greene confesses that she has not seen the woman's birth chart, but it is significant because it shows how she thinks about Neptune, where she thinks Neptune is present in a real-life situation, how it is acting, what it refers to, how her own perceptions and astrological notions lead her to construct or interpret the meaning of the event under the assumption that it refers to Neptune. Her words let us infer that Neptune is related to political correctness, socialism, religious, racial, and social sensitivities, sexism, and "neptunian fog". This doesn't tell us much yet, because in order to know if there is a psychological reductionism of the socio-political and socio-economic life we need to know how she understands or "operationalizes" the link between the individual and society.

As it turns out, the meaning she gives to the event is a simple extension of the formula given elsewhere in the book to interpret Neptune in the 7th house: "confusion that springs from the individual's unconscious quest for redemption through and by others". Her rationalization is as follows:

1) the political reaction of the overweight woman is interpreted as "rage and envy" resulting from projecting her personal grief and anger towards the mother, so her demands are seen as projections of a personal psychological problem.

2) the woman's action is seen only negatively, as "neptunian fog", as an inability to cope or work with her personal compulsions, it is reduced to "the infant demanding satisfaction from the mother"

The reduction of the social dimension to individual psychology is here complete. Society is the substitute mother. Politics and social Ethics are reduced to projections of inner psycho-dynamical conflicts. But Liz Greene goes a a lot further:

3) the woman's action puts in evidence the "neptunian waters", "the needs of the unformed personality which does not wish to be born"

The anger and frustration because there were no double seats to accommodate her at the cinema and her subsequent political demands are only a scapegoat used by her "unformed personality" to compensate for her "expulsion from Eden too soon", and the political perspective is explained that way.

Note that the socio-ethical question: "are others really responsible for accommodating the rage and envy of those who are perfectly capable themselves?" is implicitly responded in the negative: "no, others are not responsible for this woman's anger and frustration, she is capable of coping with it herself". The political outrage is the result of "her mother not having provided enough", so the rest of society can wash its hands, while the economic, social, political, environmental, educational, even psychological reasons why her mother didn't provide are not part of the equation.

Inasmuch as the actual role of Neptune in this case is unknown, it reveals more about Liz Greene than about Neptune. She is using the example merely to illustrate a principle or an idea, but in doing so without knowing the birth chart, she is making assumptions and judgments that show the workings of her own Neptune. Maybe inadvertently, Liz Greene expounded the workings of her own neptunian scapegoats with this example. With this I don't mean that anything of what she says is not true. I think her observation is psychologically insightful, but it is reductionistic and incomplete, it lacks real social and political thinking, and the implications of this omission --which is typical of modern Astrology's view of Neptune-- are critical.

The larger ethical social issue is ignored in this interpretation, which avoids or evades the socio-economic and political issues involved in the creation of the woman's obesity or in her relationship with the mother, or in the situation itself which triggered the woman's reaction. All of this is reduced to a misdirected or projected "longing for redemption", and constitutes a very clear example of psychologism. It is not that her observations are not correct, it is that the meaning of Neptune is beig forced in one single direction, that of the longing for redemption, betraying the endemic jungianism: everything is "ruled by" the archetype, everything comes from it and goes to it: Neptune is the focus of the archetype in a 1:1 relationship, and everything that is not part of the archetype is excluded from the process of construction of the meaning of the experience and of Neptune itself.

Why is the author ignoring in her presentation of this case the political, environmental, and economic factors that prevented the woman's mother from satisfying her daughter during childhood? How does she think those factors are connected to the rest of us "taxpayers" whom this woman is demanding take care of what she feels is an injustice towards her? How is this case different from that of a terrorist who had a bad childhood? Why no consideration is given to other factors that may also determine why a neptunian person decides to demand equality and justice from society? What neptunian factors are not the effect of the "quest for redemption" or longing paradise? What are her thoughts on the consequences of ignoring in her analysis that not everything neptunian is related to that primal longing or quest? What are the neptunian things she thinks cannot be explained satisfactorily by the "longing for redemption" theme, and why?

The point here is not that the characteristics attributed to Neptune are wrong, the problem is how they are explained, and what is being omitted. Another astrologer could have easily seen in this example not the effects of Neptune but of Ceres. The relativity of astrological models --the fact that Astrology provides "models of interpretation" and not actual knowledge-- becomes evident in this. Since Liz Greene doesn't give Ceres an important place in her work, she will attribute "Ceres things" to other parts of the chart. Since she doesn't use the osculating Black Moon (the primordial uroboric lunar uterus, which is in exact square with the Sun in her birth chart) she will look for its symbols somewhere else like in Neptune and Pluto, and her personal way of interpreting symbols will show a tendency to be "black-moonish", encaved in the uterine depths of the primordial lunar unconscious.


IX- THE SOCIAL NEPTUNE

Liz Greene explains Neptune's astrological manifestation in the birth chart of individuals as stemming from a longing that comes from the depths of the person's unconscious, and which originates in the feeling of having lost the "eden" of the blissful primordial oceanic mother at the time we were born. This longing then makes us go in a never-ending quest of redemption from our "fallen" state, usually projected as a need to save others or be saved or "redeemed" by them. She provides a dramatic example of this reasoning when the behavior of the overweight woman is interpreted as compensation from "expulsion from Eden too soon" and "not wishing to be born".

This one-faceted and all-lunar view of Neptune is the view that dominates today. The neptunian large-scale complex ethical issues, the neptunian socio-cultural and historical processes, the neptunian economic forces that determine a person's fate, and the astrological meaning of Neptune itself, cannot be explained in terms of one single factor. Neptune represents those aspects of life that are so complex, that it is not possible to find a unique and simple answer, they are social and existential or spiritual riddles, questions that have no unilateral answer or solution.

What if instead an unconscious and infantile "longing for paradise" Neptune represents a "call from above" to fulfill our spiritual destiny? What if this "call" that is being reduced to a longing for our primordial state of bliss is seen instead as the nascent, yet unformed sense of social responsibility? What if instead of the purely infantile longing proposed by Liz Greene as an explanation for the ambiguities and the anguish of Neptune we see instead the sense of obligation to contribute to the well-being of the larger community?

What if neptunian escapism is interpreted as the result of a deficient or "unformed" social conscience instead of our unwillingness to face the impossibility to attain the unattainable? What if our misguided need to save others is not an infantile projection of an unconscious that controls us, but the result of a genuine higher, supra-conscious instead of sub-conscious, call to fulfill our spiritual destiny, but which we are not prepared or equipped to handle?

What if neptunian self-undoing is interpreted as the failure to measure-up to the demands of society? What if neptunian surrender is seen as the necessary self-discipline in the fulfillment of a higher duty, instead of as being controlled by the unconscious longing of motherly bliss? What if the labels "impossible", "unreal", and "dream" are a form of control through which society strives to maintain the status quo? What if our neptunian dreams represent something real and new that is ahead in our evolution instead of something primal and regressive?

Not infantile longing but nascent responsibility, not an unconscious drive but the distortions of an emerging social conscience in the individual, not the return to a long lost state of common bliss in the primordial waters of the oceanic mother, but the positive and negative psychological adjustments to our bondage and obligation to the social and economic compulsions of modern community life: this is Marc Edmund Jones view of Neptune, today overshadowed by jungianism and mostly ignored by everybody.


X- SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION


From the above commentaries it is evident that the meaning currently attributed to Neptune, imbued with the influence of Carl Jung's ideas, is in itself "neptunian", and can be interpreted as a scapegoat against the demands on the individual of the "incommensurabilities" of modern community life.

The significance of Neptune when discussing jungianism increases considerably when we realize that in the birth chart of C.G. Jung there is a very exact (orb=0,16') separating square between the Sun and Neptune, so Jung's psychologism can be considered an expression of it, and is the polar opposite of the "social realism" of the Spanish poet Antonio Machado, born exactly the same day as Jung but on the other side of the Sun/Neptune square (applicative, orb=0,17'). Machado's poetry is more socially open or socially enlightened, while Jung's ideas, as evidenced in this commentaries, are socially oblivious.

The jungian reductionism evident in modern Astrology, and particularly in the more narrow views about the meaning of the term "Psychological Astrology" are exemplified by current simplistic views about Neptune that lack real understanding of the cultural dimension, and of the variety and relativity of meanings, beliefs and world-views. Jungianism, in the way it has been adopted by modern astrologers, lacks social thinking and has no sense of social resposibility, both of which are obscured and distorted by the usual association of Neptune with Jung's idea of the "collective unconscious".

The result of this is that the common meaning given to Neptune, though not incorrect, is culturally biased and naive, and demonstrates to what extent astrologers tend to ignore the differences of class, economics, and education, the ethnic and political forces which determine how people interpret the reality in which they live. This social dimension which astrologers tend to ignore as if it didn't exist, or as if it didn't have any influence on their astrological knowledge, is charted by Neptune, an emphasis of which in an astrological birth chart often results in the person becoming a high-caliber social or scientific thinker.

The problem is not that jungian methods of analysis and the jungian theory of symbols are used, but their uncritical acceptance and their subsequent abuse in detriment of others. Needless to say, Jung is not responsible for the excessive and unhealthy dependence of astrologers on his ideas, but the endemic jungianism shown in the use of concepts such as psychological archetypes, the psychological reduction of myths, the alleged universal nature of symbols, the belief that synchronicity explains how Astrology works, the unconscious as a place, the abuse of mythology as the sole source of planetary meanings, etc., is in my opinion largely responsible for a stagnation in our theoretical, philosophical, and scientific understanding of Astrology today.

Jung's ideas are an interpretation model, a "heuristic construct". It is useful, it works. But problems start when we assume that the model is reality, so instead of using it as an analytical tool, the model narrows our vision and becomes a doctrine, "opium" for the brain.

Juan Antonio Revilla
San Josť, Costa Rica
September 2008




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