A day or so ago, I was out running under that fabulous Cancer Moon, and I was listening to David Hawkins on my iPod. He is a remarkable spiritual teacher and one of the insights that he relayed struck me quite forcibly. In my life, I do not especially understand the consensus of reality. I have had several occasions to process this dissonance recently. A week or so ago I watched a movie called “Wall Street 2″ or something similar, starring Michael Douglas who is a Libra with a Capricorn Moon and who is currently fighting throat cancer. He has Uranus in Gemini right on the 8th house cusp, so what we can say is that he’s probably going to go fairly quickly, if not downright suddenly and unexpectedly, and there will probably be more than one ’cause’ for his demise. The 8th ruler, Mercury is in the 10th (high profile), conjunct Jupiter (due to excess), on the degrees for the liver (more excess and rich living), conjunct Siva (some kind of breakdown therefore, something that occurs in episodes), opposite Vulcano, conjunct Ceres and conjunct Orpheus. Orpheus is associated with the throat of course, and Ceres with nurturing and digestion. The 8th ruler is square Uranus on the 8th cusp. I’d say he will beat the throat cancer, but it will come back, probably spread to the liver and the bowel and he’ll eventually die of a systemic breakdown and body shock through fighting on too many fronts. I hope he doesn’t read this.
Anyhow. That wasn’t strictly a digression, although it may appear tangential right now. I watched this film and it began with the protagonist (I believe his name is Shia LaBeouf), living a wealthy and materially replete lifestyle. Of course there was a ‘plot’ too, but inevitably, in any story, there are assumptions made about the viewer or reader. Mostly scriptwriters can make broad assumptions about their audience quite safely, they can assume that their average viewer isn’t going to, for example, enjoy being stalked by a homicidal maniac before being brutally murdered. They can assume that their viewer isn’t going to enjoy having their life’s work stolen by some unscrupulous conman, leaving them bereft and desperate (for example). These kinds of assumptions are what makes the film ‘work’ for its audience, because the audience will identify with the life situation of the protagonist and would react similarly to that individual when faced with their challenges and dilemmas.
When I watched this film however I was placed in the peculiar position of not identifying remotely with the protagonist and yet understanding intellectually that I was supposed to, in terms of typical audience material. What a disconnect it was, watching that movie as a result! It became somewhat akin to witnessing a freak-show, where I found myself cringing at the casual assumptions about where life held meaning, about what experiences were valuable, about what goals in life were worth striving for, and of course what constituted calamity in a human life.
I was left in a state of disconnection, as though I had witnessed something vaguely pornographic. I had watched a ‘worldview’ casually projected at me through the medium of film and experienced total dissonance as an effect. I know that there was a time in my life when I would have identified with the worldview of the movie, but that too was an intellectual apprehension for me, I knew it, but I could no longer feel it. It seemed silly to me, and while I was amazed at the basic assumptions of the movie, I was distressed only by my suspicion that the majority of viewers would not feel that same dissonance and would indeed identify with the movie.
So, as I say, I was out running while listening to an interview with David Hawkins. He was talking about linear reality, which is his terminology for what happens when you watch Wall Street and don’t feel dissonance, and he explained that while a spiritual approach to life is in and of itself a long and arduous journey, the very fact that you have moved beyond linear reality in your thinking puts you in an extremely small minority. He claimed that something like a mere 0.001% of all humans alive today have moved beyond linear reality, so if you have – and all that means is that you have accepted that there is some design to life beyond the material and you act upon it in some way, shape or form – that makes you an extremely rare human being.
Moreover, once you’ve made the smallest step toward a nonlinear view of the Universe, it’s actually impossible to go back to the linear model. Spiritual evolution is incapable of entropy.
Of course, moving into nonlinearity also makes you an idiot in the eyes of everyone who hasn’t made the same paradigm shift, which can only be a cosmic joke when you think about it, but one too that you could only find offensive if you hadn’t shifted. More pertinently though, it seems ridiculous to assume that the shift to nonlinearity could ever occur as the result of chance. It requires a rare melange of constituents to combust the human soul into such an unconventional worldview. It flies in the face of myriad accepted theories of success, and it contradicts directly the principles of social and material Darwinism, which is precisely the worldview of Wall Street movies of course.
One of the real challenges of astrology is that if a client comes to me and they have an entirely linear worldview, I am unable to help them. Indeed, it is impossible for them to be helped, because only in nonlinearity is there design and therefore meaning. Without meaning, life cannot – by definition – be meaningful. This is to me an enormous irony, because astrology cannot help anyone who is not open to the possibility that astrology is a window upon one’s inner workings. Even when I have spoken to those linear thinkers about their astrology and amazed them with knowledge of some unknowable reality of their existence, they are incapable of seeing it as evidence of design, because they do not believe in design, so at best it is a blip. A remarkable and inexplicable blip perhaps, but it cannot be assimilated into a ‘meaningless’ worldview except as an aberration. It cannot transmute the broad sense of meaninglessness into meaning.
The next conundrum lies in the truth that you cannot divine a nonlinear worldview from a nativity. Indeed, you can find two people with similar nativities and one of them will subjectively experience their placements from a linear perspective and the other from the nonlinear. This is easy to appreciate with the sign of Pisces which can fantasize about ‘dream cars’ or ‘dream houses’ or it can just as well appreciate that all endeavour is dust, but there is no marker to glean this distinction within the nativity, even if it is the work only of a single sentence or two to divine it in conversation.
And why should that be? Why is it that one person dreams of a Porsche and another (far rarer individual) dreams of sojourn in the wilderness? It cannot be chance. Nothing else works randomly (unless you are in the linear worldview, then most everything works randomly and you have to resort to statistics or an ‘unknowable’ God to make sense of the Universe), so why should this? Everything has to be worked for. A great runner (which, as I struggled agonisingly along while contemplating this, I most decidedly am not) doesn’t just happen by chance. His (or her) parents have to give him the right genes, he has to have some propensity to get out there and hit the pavement when it would be far more comfortable to stay home and browse your stock portfolio, or wonder agog at what makes a stock portfolio worth browsing in the first place, he has to be able to keep going even when his body is beginning to collapse into a sweaty heap of resentment. Everything in creation is a pinnacle of effort. Why should spiritual insight be any different? After all, anyone who has shifted their perspective in this way would never want to go back to the meaningless Universe, so it is subjectively ‘better’ to have reached this worldview, and it does not come without serious and rigorous self-examination, hardship, calamity, loss, hard-won humility and compassion. These are not experiences that most people would wish upon themselves; they would rather be ‘happy’. Whatever that means.
Now I have no wish to blow your mind with talk of reincarnation, but I cannot hide from the fact that without the ‘fact’ of reincarnation, astrology could not make much sense. That does not mean that it would not work, but only that it would lose context, and of course I could posit a scenario where reincarnation was not a fact. It would be like this: we are each of us simply a piece of the Universe’s consciousness, and thus born out of that unified state in order that the universal consciousness can experience itself. In this way there would not need to be continuity; each life would simply be a random experiential event that would not need to maintain continuity. If you got difficult astrology then it would just be unfortunate but at the same time it would not matter because at the end of life your consciousness would just go back to the vast unity of universal consciousness and your life experience would be integrated into the whole. You, as the individual Fred or Frieda would no longer exist in any separate way, so you would not feel hard done by, or even have been hard done by, because you were not actually a you at all, just a piece of the unity that separated and individuated briefly in order to allow the unity to have an experience.
On the other hand, if you believe that the soul has continuity then you have a case for reincarnation. This does not mean that there is not a unity, and we could picture this as though we are a piece of a larger construct, perhaps like a bee in a hive, whereby the hive is the unity that strives to accumulate experience through its myriad components. This would be like the bees being sent out to find pollen (or experience) and coming back to the hive to share that location (or experience) with the hive. It is a subtle distinction but in this latter case we have a construct which allows for continuity between lifetimes. In this way we can follow with a Buddhist concept of reality that allows the soul to gradually accumulate wisdom through life experiences until it reaches perfection. It also intrinsically intimates a life perspective which suggests that everything that happens to us happens for the reason of our soul’s need to grow and gradually achieve that perfection. In this view we can easily relate to the possibility that we therefore choose our life path before we are born and everything that happens to us during that lifetime is designed to propel us onward along that path.
There are a number of constructs in astrology which allow us to track these markers of past life experience and where we are supposed to be headed during this incarnation. From that perspective we can determine not only what problems we are likely to face (i.e. what ‘karmic’ baggage we have brought along with us) but also where we are headed, what it is we are supposed to achieve in this incarnation in order to fulfil our ‘soul contract’. Once we are done, we are done, and we can die and go back to the hive. Maybe we achieved our life’s mission, maybe not, and if not we will carry that baggage over into the next life as well.
So. From all of this we can grasp two fundamental concepts which are extremely important to apprehend if we are going to see life in the right way, or perhaps in a way that is least dissonant with what ‘is’. Enormous energy is wasted if we cannot accept life as it is (which is not the same thing as being a doormat and putting up with rubbish). First we can say that everything happens for a reason and most especially the difficult stuff of our lives happens for a reason and second, we can accept that nothing is wrong. If you have a difficult marriage because your husband is paranoid and controlling then that is not ‘wrong’. It is probably no fun, and it is almost certainly wearying, but it is not wrong. In fact it is exactly right, it is 100% what you needed to help you learn, grow and carry on working toward your soul’s perfection during this lifetime.
But more important even than this is the understanding that while the spiritual life is a journey, it is a journey that you are only aware of being on once you have switched your perspective. The chances are that if you are reading this then you are one of those vanishingly rare people who has realised. Otherwise you are still on the journey before the journey; which is the journey (and I would say it is a journey consisting almost exclusively of ‘going round in circles’) of accumulating enough painful experience to realise that you have no option but to begin to look at life more deeply. It is time to change or die.
So while we feel great compassion for all of the suffering we see in the world, what we can know, once we know it, is that while it is painful and traumatic, it is anything but senseless. When I watch the great anguish of the Japanese people, the Libyan people, the Egyptian people, the struggles of Michael Douglas, of friends, lovers, enemies, I do not see the unknowable vagaries of an unknowable God, but rather I see a perfect and magnificent design with a single and wonderful purpose: