Dancing the Unconscious - The Outer Planets

by By Maggie Nalbandian & Laura N. Gerking

There are many and varied opinions of what astrology is and what it can do. These opinions range from the most widely accepted view equating astrology with fortune telling, to the idea that astrology is a tool for self understanding and growth. I am sure you realize from reading previous articles, we are of the latter belief system and approach astrology from the self growth viewpoint. We view the chart as an penetrating picture or "x-ray" of a specific individual we are studying, knowing that this is an extremely complex and outrageously creative human being and is creating a most profoundly dramatic life. He/she constructs the scenario of life with great unseen creative genius so that the total gamut of emotions - great joy to gut-wrenching heartbreak - are experienced. No two individuals are alike as no two charts are alike. Each have their own drama to create and their own reason for creating this drama. The horoscope gives us the scenario but does not give us the dialogue within the drama. The person creates the dialogue extemporaneously. They have a myriad of choices and each choice changes the future choices to be made. As stated earlier, we are outrageously creative and have a great flair for the dramatic.

When we look at a horoscope we see it as a symbol of the TOTALITY of the person. The planets symbolize the various psychological functions of the human psyche, the signs and houses as their mode of expression and action, and the aspects (angular distances between the planets) symbolize the various complexes within the psyche. In previous articles we have examined the inner planets (Sun through Saturn) and have defined these planets as symbols of the conscious mind or ego. Each of us are consciously aware of our emotions, feelings, the way our mind (or computer) works, our belief and value systems and our constructed limits and defenses. We may not know why they are this way but at least we recognize that they are within us. These are all needed to maintain a sense of separateness or individuality in order to function in this material plain known as planet Earth. Our individual ego demands that we are different or separate from everything we view outside of ourselves. We say we are not a tree, a flower, a cloud, a bear, a whale or that other human individual we see. As we view our separateness we still yearn for oneness as witnessed by our need for a spiritual belief system. Humanity created religion from the beginning of time in order to fulfill this need and yet, even in our religions, we maintain our separateness by creating a God that is outside of ourselves - separate from us either as a great Father or a great Mother who either rewards us beneficially or punishes us with great wrath. No matter the religion we still stubbornly maintain our separateness and deny our own creativity and our own responsibility. This yearning for something more divine comes from our unconscious. The concept of the unconscious now adds another dimension to the complexity of human nature.

The recognition of the existence of the unconscious is not new and can be traced throughout history and literature. Our great philosophers, scientists and religious leaders have long sought to understand our complex natures. Great minds throughout our history have probed and pondered this great question as to what and why we are and what and why is our world. In relatively recent history we have such great minds a Einstein and his theory of relativity which brought physics back to metaphysics. Carl Jung's theory of the collective unconscious has added yet a third dimension to the human psyche.

Astrologers also are a part of this great search of understanding. We use a different tool - the solar system - in our search. We too have our great philosophers from Ptolemy, Porphyry to Leo, Bailey, Sepharial - too numerous to count. In our modern day we have Rudhyar, Jones, Robert Hand, Jeff Green, Tadd Mann - again too numerous to list. Each, as in the other fields, have added to our understanding of the human psyche and its complexity. We have added the concept of the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious to our own research and symbology. We have given these attributes to the outer or trans-Saturn planets named Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.

We have been observing these planets for a very short period of time. Our first observations were that these planets remain in one sign of the zodiac for long periods of time and, therefore, must only symbolize generational influences rather than personal as millions of people are born with these planets in the same sign. After many years of observation and correlation we are now seeing these planets as symbols of collective and individual transformation. They are evolutionary in action and symbolize our personal and collective unconscious urge to explore and grow toward our greater potential.

From the collective viewpoint, we can trace the major shifts in consciousness - great upheavals in history - to the cycles of these great outer planets. As these planets transit a sign they symbolize a new generation that struggles to imprint their collective values and goals into world history. The dramatic changes in history are due to this generational need to assert themselves and take over the reins of power. Change happens sometimes gradually and other times cataclysmic depending on the amount of resistance to change. We are conditioned by our collective belief systems and values and, therefore, they become a part of our individual psyche.

From the personal or individual viewpoint we can also equate these planets to personal evolution. The inner planets, in their relatively rapid movement, are constantly forming different aspects and cycles with the outer planets. By placing these in a precise chart of an individual we now see them as extremely personal and important in the understanding of the total individual. We are looking beyond the conscious ego to the greater levels of the unconscious or Soul and its desire to evolve. The concept of reincarnation and a soul's need to evolve and grow can now be applied to astrology. For those who have a problem with this concept, you can look at it through genealogy. We are the sum total of past generation growth rather than believing we are our past generations. Either way we can look at that foundation (or karma) and work from that point. By looking at our evolution up to the point of our birth we can understand the setting of our life drama - the perimeters that we work within and the greater challenges we chose in order to continue our evolutionary growth.

Most astrologers today are no longer dismissing these planets as simply generational but as major indicators of life motivation. As science has accepted the importance of the different levels of the unconscious and unconscious motivations so has astrology. We seek to understand the totality of the individual and to cooperate consciously in our evolution. In seeking this understanding we find we are dealing with universal concepts and the possibility of oneness with all. Maybe we are that tree after all.