by Keith Hackwood & Mark Jones
Meaning & the Multidisciplinary Mandala
In this article it is our intention to eavesdrop on the interesting and engaging dialogue that is ongoing even now, between the therapeutic modality of Psychosynthesis and the visionary totality of Evolutionary Astrology (EA) as expressed in the books ‘Pluto: The Evolutionary Journey of the Soul’ and ‘Pluto II: The Soul’s Evolution Through Relationships’. In so doing we will be paying our dues to the founders of each tradition, the little known Roberto Assagioli and the largely unknown Jeffrey Wolf Green, two men very much of their time whose scintillating ideas and systems have yet to have their full impact upon our world, and whose obvious differences draw a quality of harmonic resonance, one from the other. It is this complementarity that we wish to explore in the following article, rather than any specialist technical or overly fastidious accounts of the operations of astrology or therapy as modes of knowing the world.
Firstly, let us say something about astrology in general and Jeff Green’s system of Evolutionary Astrology in particular. The zodiac, upon which all western astrology depends, carries twelve signs or constellations made up of archetypes grouped in six pairs of opposites (such as Leo-Aquarius or Aries-Libra) which hold the creative tension and spectrum of possibilities engendered therein. In the fullest sense, the zodiac is therefore a symbolic representation of the totality of consciousness in potential. All possibilities and manifestations of consciousness are representable (and, so, knowable) by means of the zodiacal wheel.In much the same way as Assagioli’s Egg diagram is a model of the operation of consciousness and the movements of the psyche, so the zodiac describes similar movements within a cosmic field, knowable via an individual birthchart, but always placed in the trans-human context of apparently vast movements of time (for example, no human being will experience the full cycle of certain planets used within astrology, since the period of their orbits around the sun is greater than that of a human life; for example Pluto takes 244 years to complete one orbit and hence is said to operate in generational, as well as purely personal octaves. Contrast this with, say, Mars, which takes 2 years to orbit the sun, and therefore has a much more ‘personal’ cyclic influence). Also like the Egg diagram, the zodiac is a map, and as we all know useful as any map certainly is, it is not the territory. Astrology, and especially Evolutionary astrology then, operates by means of wheels within wheels – creatively angelic, like the descriptions of Ezekiel and like the observed motions of the heavens above our benighted heads.
All civilizations and cultures have made use of astrology and often developed its precision and effectiveness to levels of refinement to rival anything our projective technological worldview has manifested. It is in this tradition that we wish to place Jeffrey Wolf Green and EA, and for this reason that we will argue for EA as offering much to the psychotherapeutic endeavour. So what makes EA special?
Firstly, we would do well to note its focus, which is primarily placed upon the distant planet Pluto. Pluto, god of the underworld in Roman mythology (Hades in the Greek pantheon), twinned with its moon Charon (the ferryman), speak deeply of intensity. Pluto rules the eighth zodiacal sign Scorpio, which is often characterised in newspaper or ‘cookbook’ astrology as being about sex, death and inheritance. For EA the Pluto/Scorpio archetype is the soul. The soul is viewed through the lens of Pluto, in all its incarnational history, with all its stored potential and wounding, without taboo, without judgement, but with absolute honesty, necessity and intensity. Simply put, this is why EA is of interest, not only to astrologers or even transpersonal therapists, but to clients – to us all. It provides a methodology by means of which we can engage with the language of soul – the logos of soul, psychology. Hence, for EA Pluto is the natural psychologist, who brings penetration and depth to the experience of being a soul. From a psychosynthesis point of view we might call this experience whereby soul integrates into personality, the I. Similarly, the dialogue between an individual soul and the archetype of Pluto as Soul mirrors our understanding of the I-Self axis, an inseparable double-mirroring of the timeless Self within the lived body, the wave and the particle simultaneously participating in an indivisible revelation, the generative mystery of which we could call, with Keats, conscious soulmaking.
The question now arises, to what extent does EA impact upon or inform therapeutic work?
The Sky (Right Now) At NightLet us begin to address the question we have set by means of a tour of the major thematic emphases to be found in the night sky at the time of writing (Easter 2005). The most striking notes, from an EA perspective, are sounded by Pluto (currently in Sagittarius), Uranus in Pisces, Neptune in Aquarius and Saturn’s movement from Cancer into Leo.
That Evolutionary Astrology provides a clear methodology to identify these prior life traumas is an enormous gift. That so many have developed such therapeutic precision and insight over the last century of the evolution of modern psychotherapy is another tremendous gift. The proposal, at least in part, of this analysis of the planetary positions in the sky and their meaning for us as human beings is that there are the beginnings of a cross fertilisation between these two disciplines. The work of Robert Sardello in such texts as ‘Love and the World’ and ‘The Soul of the World’ have shown what kind of interchange can occur between thinkers as profound and diverse as Jung and Steiner. In this essay, encouraged by some of the initial meditations on the nature of the transpersonal planets we propose that extending this dialogue toward Evolutionary Astrology and allowing its intense reply could open up whole new areas that as Synthesists we wish to nurture.
Just as in an individual’s chart Pluto is our bottom line so within the collective picture does it contain an underlying theme of the evolutionary dynamics of any given time within the collective. Pluto in Sagittarius speaks powerfully about the nature of truth, the experience of faith and the fundamental or natural laws underpinning creation. Jeffrey Wolf Green’s work in bringing EA into the world has emphasized the seminal notion of natural laws working within the totality of creation (as symbolised by the 12 archetypes within Astrology). A natural law may be contrasted with a man-made law. It is a man-made law for example in Britain that one must pay 40% tax if one earns over a certain figure, it is a natural law, for example, intrinsic to Psyche that we do not encourage children in our care to go and play on a motorway! At points man-made law and natural law co-incide, for instance in the realization that there is always a cost or price to pay for taking another’s life; at points they depart, in for example the notion that this cost is reversed as a prize in examples of genocide throughout the world. Without wishing to pin these fundamental natural laws to anything as clumsy as a list Jeffrey Wolf Green traces the origin of these laws and our dialogue about their use or our judgments about them through an analysis of Pluto’s Nodes.
Very few astrologer’s much less the general reader are aware that all planet’s have nodes, not just the famed example of the Moon’s nodes. The Nodes themselves represent an abstract point in space where the orbit of the planet intersects the ecliptic on which the circle of wheel of the zodiac resides. The upward or ascending motion of the planet creates the North Node the descending motion the South Node. Just as in EA we are able to trace the history of any given person through the south node of the moon so we can trace the history of any planetary function through its own nodes. In the case of Pluto the South Node is in Capricorn, which leads us to meditation on the underlying history of Pluto, the issue of the unconscious and depth security within the Soul stem at this time, from within the Capricorn archetype. Within this archetype, through the phenomena of the precession of the equinoxes, the shift from astrological age to age, most famously in the much heard cry in our own time of the transition from the Piscean Age to the Aquarian Age, Green notes the phenomena of sub-ages: that half-way through the approximately 2,000 years of each age its sub-age, or polarized archetype comes into influence. On this calculation the age of Capricorn as a sub-age of Cancer would be seen to predominate around 6,500 B.C. a time which Green links (via for example the anthropological work of Riane Eisler in texts such as ‘The Chalice and The Blade’ and ‘Sacred Pleasure’) to the rise of a patriarchal society from the vestiges of the prior matriarchy.
With the South Node of Pluto in our time in Capricorn we could posit on a larger collective level that we are all born with deep security issues stemming from this transition and the resulting imbalances that this transition has brought through culture and religion. Is this born out through our experience today? By this reckoning some of the fundamental struggle for truth, for a living definition of religious experience or faith, that comes through Pluto moving through Sagittarius would include a massive struggle within patriarchal systems of political and religious thought, the difference if you like between natural and man-made laws. I think most of us would agree that this broad backdrop contains many of the issues that dominate our time with the rise of the Christian right and the neo-conservatives in the U.S, with the rise of fundamentalism in that form and through the Islamic world. On a more personal level it can be sensed within the ongoing struggle for equality within the world, for at the heart of the Sagittarius archetype
is a nomadic experience, a tribal origin in the so-called ‘primitive’ cultures, itself a patriarchal branding. As books such as Marlo Morgan’s ‘Mutant Message Down Under’ clearly echo the work of many anthropologists that the ‘primitive’ cultures held a wisdom within their relationship to the environment and to each other that is simply breathtaking in its complex harmony with the consciousness of the earth. Indeed the phenomena of this consciousness, that James Lovelock called ‘Gaia’, is another correspondence with the Sagittarius archetype in EA. The movement of Pluto, harbinger of death and transformation through Sagittarius denotes a clear shift in our recognition of our involvement with Gaia as we struggle to surpass the history of our involvement as simply takers from the earth (Pluto South Node in Capricorn) through the illusion of our supremacy through the Industrial revolution and our cataclysmic attitude to the earth’s resources.
It is within this collective picture that we see our clients who are appalled at such injustice, who vent their anger on protests against war and the rape of the third world. Here we place our own dialogue with what is true, against the memories of so many distortions of that truth. Within Sagittarius at its most realized spirituality is a natural phenomena of existing within the earth’s love on a conscious level, through Capricorn and the resulting distortion of patriarchy the earth is like woman, a secondary force that must be held subservient to the priest/man and his needs. The earth and woman must be covered or else bowed before the phallic light. Indeed from this perspective all consciousness emerges from this solar light energy, even as evolutionary biologists begin to discover that creation needs only heat in the depths of the ocean to create from her womb.
In the archetype of Neptune we find the collective unconscious in EA, we find the divinity, the final surrender to the totality within the final archetype. The South Node of Neptune is in Aquarius, at a point where Neptune has just been transiting the last few years, returning to its own origins. These are origins, to follow Green’s meditation on the ages that stem from the last Aquarian Age 25,000 years ago! A time that in his far meditation (not dissimilar to the level on which Rudolf Steiner based the parameters of his teaching) Green associates with the culmination of the matriarchy, its high cultural phase. Green’s vision of the matriarchy is held within certain native cultures still alive today, even partly their glories lie in the imagination such as the native American Indians or the indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin etc – a life characterized by living within the boundaries of what the earth can provide, characterized by giving, sharing and inclusion. In such societies being ostracised from the tribe represents the ultimate punishment and often-literal death. Within such cultures equality was key -from the shaman to the humble fruit picker all were respected, as all were essential to the good of all. It is this loss within patriarchy of the sense of connection on an essential level to the others working with and for you that is so causal in the alienation so much a part of the Aquarian archetype in today’s world. Whilst Green is inviting no simple return to primitivism a la Rousseau he certainly challenges through his meditations on the origins of Planetary functions (through their Nodes) the complacency of the modern consciousness in its tenuous grasp on the more existential concerns.
Much of the alienation coming through the Aquarian archetype today stems also from the relation of Aquarius and Uranus to trauma. This is one of the key insights within Green’s Evolutionary Astrology relevant to all today, and maybe especially therapists, with Neptune in Aquarius at the same time as Uranus is in Pisces. This is what Astrologer’s call a mutual reception – because the ruler of Pisces (Neptune) is in Aquarius at the same time as the ruler of Aquarius (Uranus) is in Pisces. At its highest Neptune corresponds to healing through reconnection to spirit. Aquarius/Uranus corresponds to far memory, a memory of the earliest events of this life, memory of inter-uterine experiences so carefully recorded through Stan Grof’s extensive research and his identification of Basic Peri-natal Matrices, and also, through EA, a memory of other lives, the prior lives of the Soul or mind-stream as it manifests extensions of itself throughout the space-time continuum. Within this far memory Evolutionary Astrology delineates the impacts of history, both personal and collective, in the development of each self as held within the natal chart and influenced by the planetary conditions in the sky at each time.
With this mutual reception of the Piscean and Aquarian archetypes we are pointed to the highest goal or potential of healing and reconnection to spirit (Pisces/Neptune) which takes place through the individuation journey or reintegrating the self within all its experiences contained within far memory (Aquarius/ Uranus). Green’s genius in Evolutionary Astrology has been to identify a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder effecting people from prior lives. A Vietnam war veteran himself whose encounter with a Vietnamese Buddhist monk whilst serving with the U.S. Marines led him after the war to several temples in the U.S. and a reconnection with his teacher Paramahansa Yogananda, Green is no stranger to the issues of trauma. Whilst serving within the war he was exposed to vicious Agent Orange poisoning which leaves him even now too weak to travel and teach as he used and led to one of his children being born with a genetic disorder congruent with the kind of damage he himself suffered. Yet in his analysis through his own profound relationship to the astrological signatures Green has been able to identify the causes of many issues and traumas in the present life within prior life events. For example in this life he was born with a strange birth mark on his chest and a residual anger that led him into the Vietnam war in the first place (in a kind of ‘prison or fight’ deal offered by the American authorities). He would later understand through prior life recall a life as a native American Indian rushing home from a successful hunt to see his family butchered and find himself shot in the chest as vainly he tried to save them.
Outside of his personal story, which we recount partly here simply as context, Green has been able to explore the Plutonic question ‘why?’ within astrology to take western astrology to a depth that previous only eastern modes held – i.e. a direct understanding of how prior life causes shape the current life and destiny. If we take the meditations on the planetary placements in the sky now in Easter 2005 and their history of origin through the planetary nodes we can see a general healing and therapeutic concern for all of us working in the healing professions whether we work directly with it or not. This is a crucial point for by working intensively with the issues in the present, by allowing the archetypes of that work through dreams and visualisations or just through the intensity of the encounter, we build the temenos in which such healing can occur. Not that direct work is unnecessary, as Psychosynthesis therapists we may open to, say, hypnotherapy to explore these very avenues for the benefit of the experiential integration of those we work with. Yet even with the less direct approach we are concerned here to make the case for how serious this enterprise of integration
within the far memory can be – so many of our clients today have issues and are profoundly stuck upon themes and problems that originated and were often compounded through trauma in previous lives. The condition of the planets in the sky at this present point make clear that acknowledgment and the initiation of healing modalities to work with and through this realisation are part of the shift required as we move from the Piscean to Aquarian Age.
In analysing the South Node of Uranus we return to the theme we began with as it resides in Sagittarius – i.e. the nature of our individuation (Aquarius/Uranus) lies in our capacity to experience our own truth, our inner wholeness. Just as Ken Wilber in his multi-dimensional model of the human psyche identifies the centauric stage as the integration of the body-mind (only possible through retraction or awareness of the persona and relative integration of the shadow) so through Sagittarius, the centaur, the teacher of the hero’s, the being who integrates animal (horse), man (upper body) and spirit (through the flight of the arrow of truth) are our may aspects unified into the field of our personal truth if we can find a way to be with that truth within the world. As Sardello so simply and so radically pointed out it is no good simply to enter therapy as a fantasy, a recollection with our innerness, such innerness is inert or as so much candy floss where compared to a lived experience within the field whereby such innerness is simply openness to the sophianic stream of the Soul of the World rushing back to meet us as innerness steps outside. All our individuated power stems from our relationship in truth with the natural laws of this living Cosmos, all trauma originates in the breaking of this tryst between our individual being as it exists with the being-of-all. All trauma is simply and ultimately a lie, all lies whether from oneself to another or simply within oneself will generate trauma…
In Evolutionary Astrology in distinction from most other Western forms of astrology, Saturn/Capricorn is perceived as the structure of consciousness, both from the level of how we structure our own individual consciousness to the nature of the space-time reality in which we inhabit the 3D world. In its polarity, Cancer/Moon, we have the nature of the individual ego, the formative experiences of the early home-life, the nature of emotional imprinting and via the polarity, Saturn, the structure of the emotional body, the nature of the ego type. As Saturn makes the shift from Cancer to Leo we see symbolically a collective shift in the structure of consciousness from one of individual security, true security coming essentially from within, from an acceptance of the self and the particular formative experiences that shaped it into a need to engage with the endeavour of building or actualising that self through its own creative engagement with the world. In this way, for the next two and a half years, the structural principle of consciousness as it manifests through the collective (and by definition we can thereby only talk of generalised influences in this context) invites us to an increased engagement with our creativity and the feedback such creativity engenders between ourselves, the community and world in which we live. In a way this essay, a collaboration between two friends in their mutual encouragement of each other’s creativity, is a statement within that general shift. A desire to put one’s creativity on the line, to risk a response from the world in whatever way it may choose, to risk to think and create from multiple platforms in a way that sustains the multiple ways in which the self has perceived its own creative evolution within the world and the myriad of different teachings that have aided such a project. Whilst this is always an issue in life, just as there is always a Saturn and always a Leo archetype, whilst Saturn lives inside Leo such issues are focussed and highlighted within the collective psyche.
So what?So what, indeed. What opinions might we be able to form in relation to this information gleaned from a quick tour of the night sky at this time? How might it be helpful to us as busy, professional therapeutic practitioners with heavy client-loads and little enough time as it is? Well, in lieu of personal answers to these relevant questions, the first evident point to make is that the sky provides us with information out of which we can decode archetypal context for any individual life (our own included) on earth at this time. We can begin to place ourselves and our clients within a specific matrix of energies being triggered and shaped through cosmic motion and soulful intervention within the collective. This may in turn give us an unique perspective from which to view the issues being brought to us, the themes developing in our own professional and private lives, and the ‘thing most needful’ (where such exists and can be known). It is also a wonderfully elevated platform from which to study cultural psychopathology, but more of that in Part 2.
In the interests of grounding this starry gnosis, gleaned as it is from way above our heads, it is important to speak of the body. Not just the physical, cellular body, the locus of activity for soul interfacing with world (for bioPsychosynthesis), but also the emotional body, and for what some healers have termed the ‘knowing field’ generated between therapist and client in a successful enough I-Thou state. We have all had the experience, be it alone or with an Other, but what is the content we access at such times? What is it we see-feel, that is bigger than our I-personality, more vivid than our subpersonalities and yet doggedly elusive and mysterious, even as it affects us in the moment? For EA the answer is simple – we are encountering the stored residues of our own prior lives as information in the here and now. The soul (Pluto) remembers, and since soul is no other than body in a state of natural law (only distorted patriarchal monotheisms insist upon a splitting off of soul from body, and a subsequent dualistic masochism of body hatred and transcendent yearning) the body, in its cell-structures, also retains the information of all life, morphogenetically resonant and available right now. For the same reason (patriarchal distortion) we can also posit the notion that many of our prior lives within the gestalt of ‘history’ have included deep woundings – deep trauma – through the misshaping of the natural by the transcender hierarchy (for example, a life lived as a native forcefully taken from a culture of matriarchy and suddenly subject to the impositions of empire manifested in religious terms (one god not many) as well as social/economic terms (slavery), producing pain, trauma, perhaps brutality and death, certainly confusion, despair, maybe guilt, anger, fear – all of which the soul remembers and seeks to work through, not only alone but also in relation to those other soul’s whose paths intertwine with ours). This is where we discover the ‘evolutionary’ part of Evolutionary Astrology, in the notion of the soul evolving in relation to the personality through time, not only within the span of a single life, but across many, many lives. Jeff Green proposes that because of this we are all born, to some degree, already traumatised – trailing not only Wordsworthian ‘clouds of glory’ but also personal and collective traumas of the deepest, most impenetrable kind.
At this point we should also note the ways in which EA connects very well with certain other therapeutic modes, most notably that of prior-life regression work as that carried out under the ægis of post-Erickson hypnotherapy. Also worthy of note is the work of the Dutch regression therapist Hans Ten Dam, whose incredible book ‘Deep Healing’ ties in very precisely with the operation of EA, as well as offering much to the Psychosynthesis approach.
The emotional body, the physical body and the knowing-field create a matrix through which the therapist can assist the client in orientating him or herself in relation to their prior-life trauma. The prior-life trauma in and of itself, is no different than the issues which they present (or obfuscate) in their current life, this is not about some highly wrought mysticism or baroque psychism, but rather the concrete operation of healing through time via the only time that exists, the Now. One tell-tale sign of the proximity of prior-life material, which again we have, no doubt all experienced, is that of the response-that-is-out-of-all-proportion-to-the-apparent-stimulus. In other words the client whose thoughts and feelings seem excessive in relation to the trigger – the woman who knows her husband is cheating on her no matter what the assurances of ‘reality’, or the man who feels inadequate in his inner-life and cannot form relationships, no matter how supportive his environment or how perfect (or ordinary) his childhood. There are countless variants of course, but the emotional tone and the frequency of repetition within the clients’ awareness are clear significators of prior-life trauma. As is current life trauma, since in evolutionary terms we often get stuck where we always got stuck, or become enmeshed in the archetypal patterns we have not yet ensouled. In EA these issues are often referred to as ‘skipped steps’ and they show up regularly in the birth charts of clients – pointing clearly at ‘the elephant in the living room’ from the soul’s point of view, and requiring the conscious resolution of current and prior-life traumas in relation to the specifics of the original wounding (be it learned guilt, sadomasochism, an overpowering sense of lack, a need to dominate and oppress or whatever other form it might manifest within). The soul mediates time through the language of psyche – in other words, when we are in the place of our I we have access, through the Self, to all of our karmic experiences in all apparent times – when we are fully ‘in the now’ we are, mysteriously, in every ‘now’ we have experienced – not as Keith Hackwood or Mark Jones, but as a soul. From the soul’s own side (which ego and even I can never know) time is a sort of play-dough, colourful, useful for making shapes, expressive – but prone to dry out and become dead and useless, and utterly foul to the taste!
Me, Myself & I-ThouAs we have seen, from the larger sweep of the transhistorical perspective we can trace a human movement from prehistoric hunter-gatherer nomad to agricultural matriarchy, in which certain principles of natural law appear. From this point the story becomes increasingly one of patriarchal dominance, reflected in the increasing usage of metals, the technology of weaponry and the organisation of priest-king and state structures. The necessary balance sought by the individual soul occurs within a context of global, generational and cosmic soul patterns and cycles, and within the individual soul level another useful calibration can be posited. For EA this calibration is grouped around nine divisions in three broad stages – the so-called evolutionary stages. It is important at this point to note that
these stages are described primarily in terms of state, not station – so in their application to a client, or to ourselves, or for that matter, to the varying dynamics of our subpersonality populations, it is the basic state where our consciousness resides on a day to day level that we are aligning with and naming. Hence, when we learn that there are three major categorisations of soul, Consensus, Individuated and Spiritual, and that each has three stages (first, second and third) we take the lid of a host of self-judging and fantasising dynamics (‘I must be first stage spiritual’, ‘I can’t possibly be in the consensus’ or whatever), hence it is important that we use our critical distance, our deepest and highest sense of where our soul is, in its manifestation through our relationships and activities in the world. All souls are equal in potential, the spiritually realised state is always possible and available – and yet the workings through of karma, the resolution of ‘skipped steps’, the healing necessities of our unresolved trauma in relation to self, world and other all affect our state and colour the nature of our ‘ground of being’.
It is said, very broadly and imprecisely, but by way of clarification, that at any given time 80% of souls manifesting on Earth will be in the broadly consensus state – meaning that their concerns will primarily be with the here and now of material existence, of this life and this life alone, of power dynamics that are most at home in dominating others or projecting needs outwards. This state resembles the herds of the animal kingdoms, with its higher ends representing leaders of the state, much as modern politicians do. In the consensus there is nothing to be gained from seriously questioning anything – reality stops at the end of the nose. A good example of the consensus state is the way in which people believe what they are meant to believe, without question or personal enquiry – astrology is hokum, say the astronomers – and so it is for most people.
A further 15-18% of souls will be in the individuating state – which in turn is said to be the state in which the soul spends the longest amount of time and undergoes the most desperate afflictions, tests and sense of alienation. Here we find everyone from the terrorist to the psychotherapist, engaging with the forms of a social and global structure, which will largely be experienced, as marginalizing and threatening to the emergent sense of ‘I’. The key threshold of the individuation state is to realise the necessity of the spiritual (not the religious, since organised religion largely exists in the consensus state, as a means of mass control more than a means towards enlightened soul-realisation). The final 2% or so of souls incarnating at a given time will be those in the three spiritual states, moving through karma of teaching, of releasing guru projections, of developing the purity of their teachings and agency in the world.
From a therapeutic point of view it is highly unlikely that the bulk of people who are primarily identified with consensus reality would ever present for counselling or therapy (or an astrological consultation, for that matter), except where such activities are culturally sanctioned (witness, say, the mainstream ‘acceptability’ of yoga in the last decade or so – and the way in which it ceases to be about the royal road to conscious evolution through dedicated yogic practice and becomes more a lifestyle choice, a marketing opportunity, a diet/exercise fad for ex-Spice Girls, and ultimately, a pale imitation of what ‘yoga’ truly means. This is how the consensus operates, to retain control in a small hierarchy and maintain the status
quo at all costs). Similarly, it is equally unlikely that anyone in the higher spiritual states would ever present for therapy, both because of their relative rarity, and due to the fact that their basic evolutionary state would, by definition, be developed beyond the psychological. This is not to say that any individual great teacher or guru does not still have issues, emotionally or psychologically, regarding control or value, or desire energy – however, such issues are encountered through the vaster parts of the being that are already connected with realised spiritual states (interestingly, it is within spiritual organisations that this dynamic most surfaces as something potentially workable by means of psychotherapy, an opportunity for group Psychosynthesis as a counter to the anti-shadow, pathology of the sublime that can arise in and around highly spiritualised teachers and communities).
The vast majority of any practitioner’s clients will emerge from those 18% or so of souls currently identified with the individuated state, so it is these we shall concentrate on a little deeper. Whilst all souls are equal in an absolute sense, some are more equal than others from the relative perspective of any given moment in time. Those in the first stage of the individuated state will largely be characterised by the dynamics of the ‘inner lie’. In other words, their outer lives may relate very strongly to the consensus, they will generally have jobs (often good jobs) and be outwardly attached to the culturally acceptable goals of success, the accumulation of wealth, security and so on. However, their secret lives will mirror the growing split between the outer appearance and the inner reality – the swelling gnosis that what was once enough no longer suffices. The right job, house, car, partner, holiday, hairstyle, diet, friends or clothes increasingly fail to paper over the cracks apparent in the psyche. It is as though the soul knows that these objects are not where life’s focus needs to be. Often there ensues a series of life events or crises to ‘force the issue’ and bring the soul in question into confronting itself in the light of these issues. This leads us to the second stage of the individuated state, perhaps the point of maximum isolation and alienation from the soul’s perspective, and often the most confusing and painful point on the journey of the personality self. Here it is as though everything is broken. Consensus reality no longer works for the individual, it seems little more than a hollow sham. However, the crisis ensuing from leaving the herd has not yet resolved itself – the state mirrors that of the caterpillar inside the pupæ, melting its form and yet not yet unfolding the blueprint of the form to come. Hence, it is a time of maximum vulnerability, and a place wherein many souls have received much wounding, as they work to shed prior-life conditionings, and yet, typically, meet with no validation from the world around them or the people they share their lives with. This is the archetypal place of terrorist leaders, for example, acting out their alienation and, often, inherently more evolved than the political leaders they seek to overthrow. What matters most here is freedom, absolute radical freedom. And yet what manifests is often a distortion, an enactment of the woundedness rather than the healing potential of the situation, and hence often retraumatising occurs (for self and others).
Therapeutically, building trust and the good-enough therapeutic relationship with person’s whose primary identification is with the second stage of individuated consciousness is a substantial challenge. These are souls in extremis, some will take a suicidal trajectory, some will act out in self-harming, eating disorders,
addictions of all kinds and a host of other gnarly psychopathologies, railing against the existential meaninglessness of human suffering and angry to the depths of their being. However, it is precisely this client group that a modality such as Psychosynthesis (which allows individual freedoms, holds its own models lightly enough and with a fly-by-wire subtlety and precision, and yet also offers the maps through which a soul may encounter its broadest dimensions in a safely non-dogmatic way) can serve most effectively. It serves us as therapists to realise that, at least from an EA perspective, this is what we are often engaged with in the counselling room – the business of soulmaking, soul-reparation, prior and present life healing and the envisioning of uncensored potential pathways towards the stabilised ‘I’, and beyond. The deepest need of the second stage individuated person is to find their own freely chosen and inwardly validated spiritual path. Few (if any) will use this language or frame their issues this way, and yet the application of even basic EA techniques, as shown here, demonstrates the truth of the assertion. We are, as someone said, midwives of soul; and as someone else said, no community is complete until it can hold its own births and deaths consciously – so, as a community of transpersonal therapists, we are not only in the midwife business, but if we are authentic, we also often perform the functions of the executioner, the headsman, removing false hopes of a return to regressive consensus states, or flights of superego fancy. It is, perhaps, for this reason that the client pays us – as in the past one paid the hangman or axeman, to ensure a noble, swift and clean death. The stakes in our work are often that high, whether we are always conscious of them or not.
Let us conclude this section by talking of the third stage of the individuated state. Natives of this state will be seeking to understand their unique individuality as distinct from society and to act accordingly in authentic and integrative ways, whilst also attending to their ‘baggage’ – their relationships to others (who may or may not share their evolutionary state), their need to become congruent in all the major areas of their lives (issues such as creating ‘right work’ or resolving longstanding difficulties with parents for example). Again, a therapy such as Psychosynthesis has a great deal to offer to people in this state, especially as they move to explore the leading edge of their innate spirituality and to generate forms for expressing this in authentic, worldly ways. It is also a highly creative state, and often responds well to the kind of visualisation work found in, for instance, Pierro Ferucci’s work.
Would You Believe?Evolution, broadly speaking, happens in one of two major ways – either through a cataclysmic event or crisis, or via a continual growth. This is as true for the soul’s evolutionary journey as it is for the origin of species from a materialist point of view. The shaping and growth of the soul through time, as described through the techne of EA, coupled to the mapping of consciousness and the therapeutic applications made possible through modes such as Psychosynthesis, together constitute a threshold moment for psychology itself. The potential exists for the founding of principled, open and synthetic means of arriving at human understanding of the totality of consciousness through the lived experience of an individual life in relation to the cosmic context, the marriage of the vertical and horizontal axes. This (and other) form(s) of spiritual technology equips us to work multidimensionally with our own experiences, as well as those of our clients. As the soul is divided for the sake of consciousness, so it returns to a unified state in the name of that same consciousness, now fully expressed and cyclically ripe to dissolve. This is the story of separating desires moving through the desire for reunification with oneness – the soul’s story, the story whispered by Pluto, who sometimes speaks of Love and Will. Let’s conclude this first part of our exploration of EA/Psychosynthesis, with its emphasis on the personal journey, with a quote from the guru and inner-teacher of Jeffrey Green, Paramahansa Yogananda.
“Mankind is engaged in an eternal quest for that ‘something else’ he hopes will bring him happiness, complete and unending. For those individual Souls who have sought and found God, the search is over, He is that something else.”
Man’s Eternal Quest
Works CitedEisler, Riane; The Chalice & The Blade, Thorson’s, London 1990
Eisler, Riane; Sacred Pleasure: Sex, Myth & the Politics of the Body, New Paths to Power & Love, Element Books, Shaftsbury, Dorset, 1996
Green, Jeff; Pluto Volume 1: The Evolutionary Journey of the Soul, Llewellyn Publications, St Paul, Minnesota, 1998
Green, Jeffrey Wolf; Pluto Volume II: The Soul’s Evolution Through Relationships, Llewellyn Publications, St Paul, Minnesota, 2000 Morgan, Marlo; Mutant Message Down Under, Harper Collins, London, 1994 Sardello, Robert; Love & the World: A Guide to Conscious Soul Practice,
Lindisfarne Books, Great Barrington, Massachusetts, 2001 Ten Dam, Hans; Deep Healing: A Practical Outline of Past-Life Therapy, Tasso Publishing, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1996