Well Pluto conjoins the Galactic Centre this month (and will do so twice more next year). The Galactic Centre moves at just 84’ per century. It is a black hole that is the gravitational centre of our galaxy, and it apparently both eats up stars and spews out new ones. What it means astrologically is up for grabs, as it was only identified in the 1960s, though the Mayans had some sort of take on it, and they called it Hunab Ku.
The thing about black holes is that all the usual rules of physics break down, time and space go out of the window, and we are left with a fantastic symbol for primordial consciousness, with all its creative potential – consciousness before all the constructs we add on in order to make some kind of sense of our experience, and before the arising of this really weird notion we are born with, that we individually are the centre of the universe; before, in Buddhist terms, we have artificially divided the universe into Subject and Object. The Galactic Centre is Mind, capital ‘M’. It holds the key to the nature of consciousness, and our job individually as human beings – perhaps - is to bring some sort of new awareness to that consciousness. That original consciousness is so vast and mysterious that no individual human being can become aware of more than a part of it: this is where I feel at home around Native American mysticism, and move away from Buddhist mysticism and its hubristic notion of an omniscient Buddha.
Living in Glastonbury, UK as I do, there was inevitably a shop in the High Street called Hunab Ku until recently, and it sold legal psycho-active plants, as well as a few illegal ones under the counter. No doubt they helped people connect with the Galactic Centre.
Back to the way we impose structure on consciousness. Oliver Sacks’ book ‘The man who mistook his wife for a hat’, which I read many years ago, gives an account of the author’s experiences with patients with neurological disorders. So far, so medical. But what is fascinating is what happens to these patients. One, for example, loses the ability to recognise generalities, so that he can tell you that a playing card is the Jack of Hearts, but not that it is a playing card. Another has the opposite disorder, so that he can tell you it is a playing card, but not which one it is. Another loses all sense of ‘right’, so that he eats the left hand part of the food on his plate (he cannot see the rest), and then moves his plate round to the left, and eats the left half of what is still there, and continues in this way. All pretty bizarre, but you are left dumbstruck at the implications: the way we experience the world is intimately and profoundly shaped by the hard-wiring in our brain. What seems to be ‘out there’ is almost entirely a construct of our brain that enables us to cope with our experience. Personally speaking, and I cannot prove this, the only reality I cannot deny is other beings, particularly other people, and the impact they have on me. Other people are real, and knowing that I guess helps keeps me sane. Other people experience themselves as a centre of consciousness just as intensely and individually as I do, yet we are profoundly interconnected, there is something very deep that we share, even if I don’t know those people.
So like I said, the Galactic Centre seems to me to embody this original, undifferentiated and endlessly creative consciousness. And we are on a journey through time and space to bring some sort of new awareness to this consciousness. We are like the individual petals on a flower, each bringing a unique aspect of this awareness, and contributing to a whole.
For a good introduction to the Galactic Centre, see Lynn Hayes article.
It’s now a day since I started this, and the great thing about blogs is that they don’t have to be polished articles. Or I’d never do them. Yesterday was the first time I’d ever thought about the Galactic Centre. What I’ve realised since then is that as an astrologer I take the movements of the heavens seriously, they symbolise the movements within our consciousness. And by ‘symbolise’ I do not mean an abstract analogy but a real, living, inter-connected correspondence. Astrology normally concerns the cycles of planets around the Sun. But by bringing in the Galactic Centre, we are adding a whole new dimension to astrology, a dimension which we have to add to maintain integrity within this body of knowledge.
The Galactic centre is a black hole, it is a ‘singularity’ beyond the normal laws of physics, it is akin to the state of matter before the ‘big-bang’, and akin to the state of matter after the universe collapses back in on itself (assuming it ever does), and certainly describes a galaxy after it has collapsed back in on itself, in which its sheer mass concentrated in one place becomes too great for the atomic structure of matter, under intense gravitational forces, to avoid collapsing – and with it, time and space break down. We are dealing with infinity, infinite gravity from which light cannot even emerge, but from which, mysteriously, new stars can be born.
So, given that the cycles of the planets around the Sun describe the cycles within consciousness, so too does the great in-breath and out-breath of singularity to galaxy and back to singularity describe a much wider cycle, or journey, of consciousness itself – from a time before any differentiation has happened, right through to all the different life-forms, including human, that consciousness seems to evolve into, and with all the learning and transformations that are involved, and back to a singularity again, but a singularity that has, hopefully, been in some way enriched by the journey of consciousness-matter that has occurred. I don’t think we can separate matter and consciousness, mind and body. We tend to do this unconsciously, due to our Christian heritage, but astrology would not work if they were separable. We inhabit a living universe.
A big question for me is “Does human consciousness progress?” From the point of view of this incredible journey of consciousness from black hole to unfoldment and back again – a perspective which the Galactic Centre opens up – it seems to me that something supremely important is going on through time, in which human consciousness, which is so particular, has its own role to play. From the narrower perspective of the last few thousand years, I cannot use the word ‘progress’ about humanity. Civilizations rise and fall, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, and within which we keep finding individuals who are outstanding. Our civilization too will fall, one day. The emergence of outstanding individuals, who are not simply a product of their species and circumstances, seems to characterise human consciousness, unlike other earthly life-forms. But humanity does not seem to learn on a collective level. The 20th century had more wars in it than any previous century.
So, empirically, human consciousness does not seem to me to progress collectively, although different potentials do seem to open up at different times in history. At the same time, astrology teaches me that our nature is to be found in the heavens and, in the widest sense, in that incredible journey of consciousness over billions of years that the Galactic Centre reveals. The nature of that journey is necessarily beyond the grasp of one individual human, but the fact of it remains a source of wonder.