Contemporary Astrology and the Big Picture: Linda’s Challenge

This comment on my last post from Linda Leinen, a faithful and much appreciated supporter, is so interesting that I thought I’d turn it into the next post! Linda blogs at The Task at Hand and her writing is brilliant. Check it out….

From Linda:

This isn’t a criticism, or even a cogent observation, because there’s too much I don’t know about all this. But my sense of things, after my years in Africa, is that some differences in culture and world view are so fundamentally different that a synthesis, a grand, overarching explanation for human behavior, just isn’t possible.

Part of the difficulty may also be an irony. The worldview of many Liberians I knew more closely resembles that of antiquity than of our modern culture. We no longer speak of the gods controlling every aspect of human behavior and worldly events – but some of my friends saw gods everywhere, determining almost mechanistically what was possible.

If I framed it as a question, I suppose it would be – how does modern astrology deal with cultures that haven’t even made it to pre-modern, let alone post-modern? It’s really an interesting thought.


And an interesting question! I have been so busy dealing with the demands of the ‘real’ world this week that I haven’t had time to address your question in the virtual world until now.

Whilst reading the introduction to a new book pulling together the perspectives of a range of modern astrologers on Transpersonal Astrology, I came across this statement which strikes me as relevant in responding to your question:

“The emergence of a transpersonal perspective  (bringing together insights from the fields of psychology, progressive spirituality, the human potential movement, non-reductionist science, and philosophy), is reflected… increased awareness that life is far more complex than can be appreciated by our immediate senses…..There is a palpable eagerness to seek alternative ways to understand the human condition and to expand our experience of life’s great mystery…..

As humans.we are clearly enveloped within a system not of our design but of an intelligence that transcends and includes us, as if we are each nerve cells in a larger brain. Incorporating the transpersonal perspective is an act of yielding to this broader reality instead of choosing to couch the phenomena of astrology in only familiarly personal ways….”

(Transpersonal Astrology Explorations at the Frontier (2013) Produced and Edited by Armand Diaz, Eric Meyers & Andrew Smith, pp 1,2)

This transpersonal perspective can be seen as flowing into the broad category of ‘archetypal cosmology’ which I talked about in the previous post. This mode of seeing proposes that the great archetypal patterns shaping human behaviour both at the individual and collective level, patterns revealed in the inter-relationship between planetary cycles and earthly life, are  in fact fundamental to the cosmos itself.

Viewed in this way, perspective on human culture in the broad sense, and individual life in the tiny sense, changes its locus from the personal to the transpersonal.

Thus the “grand, overarching explanation for human behavior” which you talk about in your question shifts: from the human world with its many, continually evolving viewpoints – depending on geographical location and mores –  to locating all life on tiny planet Earth within the vast teleology of an unfolding and evolving Cosmos.

Thus a truly contemporary astrology  can play its part, as Diaz, Meyers and Smith so eloquently put it, through “….  yielding to this broader reality instead of choosing to couch the phenomena of astrology in only familiarly personal ways….”

To ground this reflection in actual practice: as a contemporary, transpersonal astrologer I find it deeply supportive of my attempts to lead a meaningful life, to see the interweaving of the symbols in my personal horoscope with the ever-changing energies of the solar system in which we are temporally located, as an unfolding pattern charged with meaning, set in the context of a much Bigger Picture.

This challenges me to live out my tiny spark of energy in this vast Cosmos with as much conscious awareness and positive choice as I can manage.

My experience of clients coming to me for help is this: assisting them in seeing that this life’s grapples take place within a context of larger meaning where every positive effort – although we may not see its immediate fruit – helps the Bigger Picture to unfold, is greatly supportive to them.

Having a sense  that our tiny lives are a potentially useful and creative part of …. life’s great mystery….may not remove life’s difficulties, but it certainly empowers both me and my clients in coping with whatever life on planet Earth chooses to throw our way.

Linda, I hope this goes some way toward answering your question! It may be a little longer than you were expecting….



800 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Armand Diaz, Eric Meyers & Andrew Smith 2013

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page


3 responses to “Contemporary Astrology and the Big Picture: Linda’s Challenge

  1. Thanks so much, Anne. Your answer is really quite interesting, and understandable. And I found this statement particularly resonant today – “very positive effort – although we may not see its immediate fruit – helps the Bigger Picture to unfold”.

    I’ve just had another experience of finding one of my posts picked up and linked to. In this case, it was a post from 2009 (!) and it concerned my visit to Moon Lake, Mississippi. A new group has been formed to promote the area. Clearly, they were browsing the web to see what might be out there, and they picked up on my post.

    This has happened a number of times, and I always experience it as an affirmation of my basic attitude toward my writing – that if I simply do my best and put it out there, it’s going to get picked up now and then.

    One value of such an approach is that I get to spend my time writing, instead of promoting. If I were thirty years old, I might be more aggressive as a marketer. Today? At sixty-seven? I want to enjoy my writing, not flog it. 😉


  2. Thanks for this response, Linda. And you do enjoy your writing – one just has to read your posts and the wonderful range and depth of responses you evoke to realise that.


  3. Hi Anne – in my experience the universality you speak of does, on the whole, enable westerners to embrace non-western divination practices and cosmologies, but not the other way around, at least not that often, os as easily….so, I tend to agree with Linda’s observation…..I say this as a practicing diviner and astrologer, the former being a purely indigenous practice, learnedat a very early ageand through subsequently working with traditional indigenous healers and diviners, the latter being a practice that I started over 40 years ago and learned almost exclusively through western psychological/astrological approaches – in fact Liz Greene was my starting point, although I never had the pleasure or benefit of her direct teaching…..I now combine the two approaches, when appropriate, and find they are entirely compatible, and complimentary, but, I feel the weight of traditional roots within non-western clients more fully than in westerners, who are often actually looking for those roots, and on the couch, so to speak, because of this, at some level… willing to say more, but, I would love to hear Linda’s response to your post – many thanks R

    Liked by 1 person

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