Sunday, August 10, 2014

Astrology and the Daimon

Astrology does not predict the future. In fact, astrology on its own does not say anything. It all comes down to the astrologer and his/her divinatory ability. Admittedly, if astrology is applied mechanically – in the way a computer does – it will score a few hits. And that can give the illusion that there is something ‘objective’, something ‘out there’ in the stars that the astrologer is reading.

And, just to sort of contradict myself, maybe there is? I’m thinking out loud. When those words come through you, where are they coming from? Are they coming from deep within, or are they being channelled from eg Pluto? We probably each have our own way of seeing that.

And it doesn’t really matter. If those divinatory words are indeed coming from the stars in your experience, the point is that it is not a literal place. Those words – the knowledge within them, the spirit behind them – are coming from someplace else that is not the everyday tangible world.

So how can computer readings be/appear useful? Firstly, we tend to remember the bits that ring true and overlook the bits that don’t. Secondly, people sometimes respond to readings as though they are being told something about themselves from the beyond, but without examining if it is true.

Thirdly (here’s where I get mystical), whoever wrote those computer readings, if they were good, would have written them in a synchronistic way, so that they would apply to precisely those people who would one day look at them. Sun sign astrology can work a bit like that.

One way that this divinatory perspective can affect the astrologer is that it throws us back on our own resources and abilities. Astrology is not something you can become ‘good at’ through stacking up knowledge and ideas, however interesting they might be.

I think that is a bit of a natural human tendency. The exoteric is more readily comprehensible, and requires less effort, than the esoteric. The exoteric is also a place to fall back on when we doubt ourselves.

Don’t get me wrong, the exoteric, the book learning, is invaluable. But it is all a support for that encounter with the gods, that place where you are on your own. And I think that applies right across all ‘spiritual’ traditions.

 Ultimately it’s just you and that Daimon who wants to speak through you, if you have the courage to let him. Or her. It just happens to be astrology that is the means.

That is why I think of astrology as essentially Neptunian. It involves unfolding symbols and letting them speak through you, which is Neptunian. And you are there doing that unfolding because to some extent your life is being guided by something other, a Daimon if you like, and that is also Neptunian.

 I find that sense of something other in the driving seat, so to speak, comes and goes. Sometimes it can feel like it’s just me and all my stuff to deal with, and it’s like this wall I’m up against. And then at other times there’s this sense of it all being how it’s meant to be and there’s this sort of benign plan, and that gives me a perspective that shifts me away from just feeling I’m at the coal-face. And that’s Neptune, who is currently squaring my MC-IC.

I think the IC can be overlooked, but it is the roots out of which the MC  - the branches, our place in the world - grows. The IC, it could be argued, needs to be addressed first in order for the MC to flourish. And my experience of both Neptune and Pluto (in the late 90s) hard-aspecting my MC-IC is that it has been predominantly the IC that is being addressed, my inner world, all my old stuff that still needs sorting, out of which comes a new story of my life.

Traditionally, the MC and ASC are the 2 most powerful Angles, while the DESC, and particularly the IC, it seems, can be treated as add-ons. You could say that it is an expression of the one-sidedness of our culture that the MC is seen as more important than the IC. That what we do matters more than who we are; rather than what we do, in the sense of the things we do that matter to us, growing out of who we are.

The theme of this piece, in a way, seems to be that which is inner, seeing that as the foundation, whether in terms of our psychology (the IC) or the Daimon (Neptune.)

And it’s a lifelong process. There’s no hurry. It can be confusing in our Saturnian culture (eg UK Sun in Capricorn, US Sun square Saturn), with its emphasis on tangible achievement. You can feel wrong-footed by it, doubting yourself for all the wrong reasons.

That inner process is more Moon (natural IC ruler) and Neptune (natural 12th House ruler) , than it is Saturn (natural MC ruler). Saturn at his worst denies the reality of the inner, but at his best is a protector of it, he is the walls of the mystic’s cave. Saturn needs to serve these 2 planets rather than dominate them: he gives us the wherewithal to keep our life in some sort of practical order, and the ability to find a place in the world for the Daimon. But the Daimon tells him where to go.

If the Daimon, the presiding spirit of our lives, is Neptunian, and Neptune rules the 12th House, then that suggests the Daimon lives in the 12th House.

I was uncomfortably aware when writing the above that Pluto often turns up when I’m writing, a sort of presiding spirit, and that doesn’t fit with the Daimon being Neptunian. And then I realised my natal Pluto is in the 12th House: it was one of those moments, that we probably need a word for, when you realise you're on the right track.

Not only that, but the Sun rules my 12th and is opposite Pluto. So my Daimon lies along that axis, in the working out of that opposition. Which is further suggested by my Jupiter-Neptune-Node conjunction in Scorpio: the need to find a hidden inner power and knowledge.

The Daimon is there, if you like, when you know you are doing the right thing with your life. So that brings in the North Node, the point in the chart where our most important lessons and tasks lie. I tend to think that if you are doing your North Node, then the rest of your life will fall into place.


Anonymous said...

Magnificent column, Barry.

You gave me one of "those moments" this time : natal Neptune (natural ruler 12th house) on my IC and Moon (natural ruler IC) in 12th house !!

Thank you for this insight.
I always thought it was Uranus.


diastella said...

Thanks for this - Saturn is approaching Neptune conjunct my IC.

So much is coming up for me - my mother, my mother needing a new home and wanting to live with me, knowing that until I deal with my compulsions and neuroses my path in the outer world is chaotic, different pathways to take with my working life, knowing at some deep level that the 'career' path will clarify as I free myself from ancient psychological, neurological feedback discord - and Saturn bringing this muddy road through slowly and insistently. There is no way out.

I really appreciate your image of the roots and the branches, of seeing myself as a tree. Thank you.