Jeff Jawer: Future
For the permission for Integration of this Text I thank most heartedly Jeff Jawer, founder together with Rick Levine of my favorite-homepage
Copyright 1999-2002, StarIQ.com
Astrology has grown from a trickle to a stream over the past 30 years. I’ve been privileged to watch a generation of practitioners go from idealistic hippies to conscious professionals supporting their families and serving their clients. The seminal work of Dane Rudhyar and Marc Edmund Jones gave rise to a new generation of psychologically trained astrologers who have added depth, meaning and modernism to our field. Computers have eased the way for exploring new techniques, while reducing chart calculation times more than ten-fold. In one cycle of Saturn, astrology has dusted off centuries of neglect and begun a long, slow return to respectability.
Over the past few years, astrologers have begun the extraordinary work of reclaiming our history through translations of Greek, Latin, Hebrew and Arabic texts. A growing community of astrological scholars is bringing knowledge of history, philosophy, science and mythology to reconnect our severed academic roots. Kepler College in Seattle is in its fourth year as a degree granting institution. Our educational profile is up.
Organizations, the Internet and Astrology Books
Organizations such as NCGR, ISAR and AFAN have expanded the reach and services of older associations like the AFA and AA (Great Britain). Educational and ethical standards, media outreach and legal rights for astrologers are pursued more aggressively than in the past. National groups exist in most industrialized countries. Regional, national and international conferences continue in popularity, although no U.S. gathering has matched the number of attendees of the 1976 AFA convention in San Francisco.
The Internet is playing a significant role in the current development of the astrological community. Web sites, mailing lists, chat rooms and email are connecting astrologically inclined people all over the world. An individual needn’t join a local organization for his or her astrology fix. One doesn’t have to buy a book to read new ideas and opinions. The Net has its paradoxical effect on astrology, as it does with everything else. It publicizes existing sources of information (groups, books, publications), contributing to their growth, while reducing the need for them, inhibiting their growth. Astrologers promote their services and attract new clients while computerized chart reports written by the same astrologers compete with them. The Net seems to be a uranian accelerator, creating and destroying, shaking old forms and making new ones. Yet, on the whole, I believe that the Net is contributing to the growth of astrology. Access to ideas and people are blurring the boundaries of time and space. An enormous amount of information is suddenly available in your own home.
The world of astrology books has changed considerably during the past three decades. I remember when I’d enter a book shop and furtively whisper, ”Do you have any occult books?” Since those days, a large number of metaphysical bookstores have opened that display a wide array of astrology books. Today, mass market giants like Borders and Barnes & Noble have clearly marked shelves of astrology books. Typically, these behemoths threaten the existence of the specialty stores and have less diverse selections of astrology books. The market monsters get material out to the masses, but also reinforce big publishing’s pattern of supporting big sellers while killing off less popular books. This pattern of publishing Darwinism is apparent when major houses stopped printing excellent astrology books by Debbie Kempton Smith, Alan Oken, Steven Forrest and others. Unfortunately, smaller specialty publishers are struggling, leaving less outlets for writers of serious astrology books. Even with these problems, however, the number of books available to astrologers is greater than ever before. Yet, in spite of the brilliance of many of our authors, no astrology book has remotely approached the mass market success of Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs published in 1976.
Growing Public Acceptance
Public acceptance of astrology clearly has grown by leaps and bounds. Belief in astrology in the U.S., according to Gallup polls, doubled from about 17% to 34% within the past 30 years. Sun sign columns continue to be a staple of newspapers, magazines and, now, web sites. Yet, even these venerable tarts have become more sophisticated with mention of real planetary transits becoming more common. The superficial horoscope reader is more likely to have heard of Mercury retrograde or Saturn in Cancer now than in the past. With thousands of counseling astrologers in the U.S. alone, the sheer number of people exposed to natal astrology is significantly greater than ever before. Web sites offering free chart calculations, mini-interpretations and transit services continue to bring astrology to those unwilling or unable to pay for it, or without access to a counseling astrologer.
Religious and scientific resistance to astrology haven’t changed much since the early 1970s. Fundamentalists of both camps are as vigorously entrenched in defending their turf as before. Kepler College’s existence has stirred some in the academic community to rise up against astrology but, in a battle for student dollars, I wonder if the motivation isn’t economic, as much as it is philosophical.
Astrology has made virtually no headway in the scientific arena since Michel Gauquelin’s ”Mars effect” research was published in 1955. Debate on this work continues today. Astronomer Percy Seymour’s book Astrology: The Evidence of Science appeared in 1989, but has not had obvious impact in either scientific or astrological circles. In fact, the very notion of astrology as science is opposed by many astrologers who find its validity in practice, symbolism, mysticism or other non-materialist models.
Recent trends in astrology have seemed to place more importance on rediscovering older principles and techniques than in creating new ones. The rising interest in Vedic astrology, for example, seems to appeal to those seeking both a more spiritual and more accurate predictive model than that of psychological astrology. The potential for certainty in a more fate-oriented system may be reassuring in the face of the relativistic, roll-your-own reality of modern astrology. The same, too, might be said of the interest in techniques coming out of ancient and medieval astrology. Humanistic astrology blossomed in the creative days of the 60s and 70s, but perhaps the uncertainty of these times has astrologers (and their clients) seeking the comfort of predictability that has long been at the core of astrological practice.
I’ve wondered about the fact that today’s astrology, filled with bright, creative people, has not launched one of us into the public eye. Not only are we largely absent from mainstream media, but we have not even taken a significant place on stage with our New Age siblings. It’s possible to have a major event, like a Whole Life Expo, without a single significant astrological presentation. None of us, not Rob Hand or Liz Greene, Tad Mann, Michael Lutin or Demetra George, regularly sits on panels with Jean Houston, Ram Dass or Deepak Chopra. It’s as if we, the modern astrologers, are orbiting our own star, apart from the other lights of our time. Surely, we help, we heal, we teach and touch millions, yet somehow we still remain apart. Is it because of our incorruptibility, advanced spirituality or highly developed intellects? In a world where Stephen Hawking and the Dalai Lama are public figures the answer probably lies elsewhere.
This article is not the truth. It is an opinion that is subject to change, like all opinions. Please understand that what follows is not a criticism of astrology as it is, but an idea of what it can become. The passion I feel is rooted in my love for astrology in relation to the belief that humanity is in trouble. Astrology has contributed to the awakening of individuals, but so have psychology, meditation, tantra, shamanism and other disciplines, old and new. Astrology reminds us of our connection to the cosmos, but so does NASA.
Astrology's Focus on the Individual
Perhaps astrology is outside the mainstream because it is not fulfilling its own potential and responding to our greater needs. Does the language of astrology need to reexamine its roots, not to celebrate them and bring the past into the future, but to renew them in forms appropriate to the present? Perhaps the celebration of the individual by way of the natal chart has reached the apex of its value. Untangling the knots of one’s own psyche is useful work, but may not take us far enough.
The larger question of who we are, not who I am, is one that keeps knocking at the door of my consciousness. How is it that the rising tide of human awareness is met by massive suffering for the planet at large? One million human beings starve to death each month despite the healing effects of New Age nostrums and old age medication. One would think that the growing consciousness of meditators, yoga practitioners, astrologers and spiritual people of all stripes would significantly contribute to the reduction of pain and suffering on planet Earth.
As long as astrology points to me, instead of us, its benefits will be supplemental, rather than elemental. The core of who we are and what we’re doing on this planet remains largely untouched by science without meaning, religion for an afterlife and astrology for oneself. The astrological tradition aims to increase gain and reduce pain. It’s largely a model for managing the world as it is, rather than remaking it as it can be. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by astrology. It’s given me so much, yet still I want more. I want to know how it can help us bridge the gap between Pisces (religion) and Aquarius (science) in this perilous time of change. I want it to show me how I belong, how we belong, who we humans really are.
The secret is that astrology is not about my chart or your chart, reinforcing the temporary illusion of our separateness. The greater healing power of astrology is showing that we are all moving through time and space together, connected by cycles within cycles, living all the seasons together. In an emerging Aquarian Age, individuality is the lesser (more local) truth. Like facets on a diamond, we each have a perspective that is unique at the surface, but not at the core. We may collect the data of experience in our individual bodies and minds, but the DNA belongs to all of us. The culture belongs to all of us.
The Aquarian Question
This relationship between the individual and the collective is the Aquarian question at the heart of our identity dilemma. Crystals of consciousness can break off and give rise to new ideas. Or they can harden in rigid choices that constrict the flow of thought. Having the right answer usually means that the game is over. Thinking stops. Feeling stops. But, astrology must never stop if it is to serve the current needs of humanity.
The world has changed, why shouldn’t astrology change? This isn’t about giving up on the game of Me, My Natal Chart and I. (Sounds like a good sitcom title.) It’s about integrating other perspectives, too. Individual, collective. Cycles and spirals. Astrology’s antennae can be pointed in many directions. Its voice can speak in many tongues. The stories we choose to tell about ourselves and our world with astrology determine its influence in our lives. Astrology is healing when it links the individual to the collective. When astrology connects us to all the signs and seasons we drink from its bottomless well of wisdom. We needn’t be frozen in our natal charts, limited by the illusion of our separateness. When we dance with the planets outside the limits of our natal charts we do not forget who we are—we remember who the planets are. We reconnect with the astrology of all of us, the astrology that was here before birth and will be here after death. It is an Aquarian jewel of infinite facets through which to shine our light upon the world.
This article was originally published in The Mountain Astrologer.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff Jawer is a founder of StarIQ.com. He has been a professional astrologer since 1973 and is well-known as a writer, counselor and lecturer in North America and Europe.
Visit the author's website.
* Being and Becoming 9/29/2003* Jupiter Opposite Neptune 2/10/2003* The Astrology of Intimacy 12/1/2002* Saturn-Pluto Revisited 9/20/2002* Astrology's Archaic Truths 6/27/2002* We Are The Transits 6/20/2002* Astro-Ecology 6/13/2002* Creative Prediction 6/6/2002* Pisces to Aquarius 11/10/2001* Scorpio: Beyond Reason 10/24/2001* Caring Curious Carlos 2/25/2000* Doug Henning's Final Act 2/8/2000* WTO: Shaping the World's Economic Future 12/1/1999* The Deconstructed Horoscope 11/28/1999* House Cusps and Systems 11/20/1999* The Art of (Non) Communication 10/20/1999
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