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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mandala of the Birth Chart

There’s a mystery in a mandala, and a mystery in an astrological chart. They look similar with their circles, lines, and squares but I wouldn’t want to try to encapsulate it by reason, but rather to draw attention to the spiritual mystery within it. A mandala, to the Eastern religious mind, is like a Christian icon, a window to God. An astrological chart, to an astrologer, is a similar map of the psyche, of the Soul, and a profound means of acquiring Self insight. We enter the mandala of the chart primarily through understanding and honoring the internal planetary archetypes, the “gods.”

Carl Jung once said: “When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside as fate.” ( Aion, CW 9ii) Yet no matter how much we understand the meaning of the signs, symbols, and complexities of the chart, it remains receptive to deeper and deeper levels of reflection. All good mandalas do this. Mandalas hold the mystery of sacred geometry. And so we ask ourself: Is this a way to know the Self, the Soul? Do we understand our charts? Can we ever get to the center of the Self?

Most contemporary Western astrologers believe that the Soul is on an evolutionary journey of reincarnation, and that in some mysterious fashion, our Souls have chosen a particular time and place to be born into so that it will experience what it needs to in this life. Is this theory, myth or truth? Does it matter? Is it at the very least an opening into dialogue with our higher Self? What a gift it is to see it that way—the chart as a tool for meditation, a map of the psyche, a personal mandala that hints at our unfolding destiny.

It’s often been said that character equals fate, and that character is created by the conscious choices we make and bring to each situation---whereas the word fate has the implication of no choice. One could optimistically say that when an inner situation is made conscious, it happens as our unfolding destiny. Or we can inspire a touch of fear by saying, as Jung did in the quote above, by saying that without consciousness, we don’t see the full range of our choices, and therefore encounter our fate.

So the mystery of the chart is a mystery to be pondered and to be brought into the light of consciousness. “Know thyself” the Greeks said. The chart is one way to know ourselves, and each planet can be seen as a symbolic archetype, or as a god that needs attention. Jung once said “every neurosis is an “offended God.” (Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, CW 7) If instead we try to render conscious all the conversations which go on within our psyche--between the “committee of symbolic gods or voices in our psyche” then we stand a better chance of honoring the differing parts of our nature. It sounds like a call to keep talking…..
In my next post, we’ll continue this conversation…. ~ elizabeth spring

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