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The Birth Chart as
a Celestial Message
by Dane Rudhyar

An Address to the 1976 Convention of the American Federation of Astrologers.

We cannot avoid relationship with the universe and, in a more limited sense, with our planetary environment. To try to escape from what is, is not only futile in the long run but spiritually senseless. One has to learn to accept consciously, serenely everything whatsoever. What counts is the quality of the acceptance how we meet what confronts us, how we respond to the challenge of what it brings.
      The essential value of astrology is that it may assist you in consciously giving a wholesome, total, non-evasive quality or character to your acceptance of life and to the discovery of the meaning of its confrontations. Carl Jung wrote: "As a doctor it is my task to help the patient to cope with life. I cannot presume to pass judgment on his final decisions, to use any kind of coercion or suggestion."
      Every astrologer dealing with a client, or even with enquiring friends or curious acquaintances, should never forget such a statement, "to help the patient to cope with life" the whole of his or her life, without any restrictions or compromise just as it really is, not as the person imagines, or has been told by someone, that it is.
      Many people reading this probably will think: "Of course this is what I do as a practicing astrologer!" But is it, really? Let us enquire further into the matter.
      We can only cope with life as it is now at this moment. What is to come in the future will not help us to cope with what is now. Predictions, as such, far too often lead to evasions from reality. Astrology should never be thought of as merely a predictive science. The astrologer rightfully considers trends and the patterns made by past events, but he or she does it or should do it in a very special manner: by realizing that every "now" constitutes only a phase among many within the entire process of existence. Each moment you live through sounds one note in the melody of your entire life, as it flows from birth to death within a particular environment, the Earth's biosphere.
      A note alone has essential meaning only insofar as it is part of a melody. If we look only at what is happening, the event may seem most important. It is so existentially, superficially. But while it is like a bridge linking yesterday and tomorrow, what counts is the whole journey we are taking, each in our own way. It is the living of life, the quality of its flow and our flowing with it, accepting fully and serenely what comes in terms of the meaning of the whole, accepting consciously and objectively every event by referring it to the entire pattern of our life-span and our total development.
      Everything life brings us is to be felt and understood, as a phase of the process of actualization of what, at birth, is only a complex group of potentialities. This process has its source in a need. The universe, the Earth, mankind, your parents "needed" what you essentially, archetypically are even though it was not, for them, a conscious need. And it may take a long time before you, yourself, fully realize what this need was and is. Everything in the whole universe is where it is because there is a need for it as every note in the score of a great symphony fills a need and has some kind of meaning as every cell in a healthy body also fills a need and has a precise function.
      The trouble with our modern American (or Western world) individualism is that we so often feel as a tiny atom or a transcendent monad, unrelated to any organic whole of which we are a part. Our life melody does not accept that it is related to a larger whole because, if we think of such a larger whole of which we are a part, we can think only of family, society, nation; and today these wholes are not organic, they are only a chaos of essentially separate (so-called) individuals held together by convention, by obsolescent traditions, and by incredibly complex and meaningless laws and regulations. If we are young and intense, we rebel against everything that claims we are part of it and that we must follow the old rules. We become alienated, uprooted, seemingly free but free for no particular purpose, meaninglessly free . . . and thus confused and often lost.
      Can we not accept the universe, the solar system, the Earth, as greater wholes of which we are organic, functional, needed parts? Can we not accept our need to involve our life melody in the immense choir of the universe?
      You will probably say, "But how can I know where I belong in this universe? How can I find the musical score showing what my part is, where my life melody fits?"
      The sky is the answer. Your birth chart and the way it unfolds its human birth potential is your score. It is the message of the universe to you a message in the celestial language of symbols. But it has to be deciphered, decoded. Astrology provides you with technical means. A wise astrologer should be able to guide you in the process of learning your true name. Your celestial Name. Your chart is You in relation to the universe, essentially and only incidentally in relation to your family, culture and society. You need family, culture, and the language it gives you, to think with. These are means to an end. The end is to fulfill your place and function in the planetary-cosmic whole where you belong, where you the real you are needed.
      Your chart is the message of the greater Whole to you, the human individual a message in a symbolic language.
      There are some people happy are they! who intuitively are aware of their place in the evolution of life and mankind on this Earth. They have what Carl Jung calls a vocation. A vocation is something that calls you. The celestial message is, in them, a voice summoning, arousing, guiding. And they listen to it.
      For most people this inner voice is blocked or utterly confused by various statics, by the demands of family, society, nation. A way has to be found to go through and beyond this myriad of discordant claims, prejudices, traditions and either to hear the true inner voice, or to learn to decipher the written message of the sky to you, personally. And, in this second and most frequent case, Astrology can be a way although not the one and only way. It is the most universal, the clearest and most encompassing way if it is properly used.
      To exist as an individual is to undergo a process of actualization of what, at birth, was mere potentiality. Your chart is the acorn of the oak you can become, within the limits imposed by the conditions prevailing in the biosphere and in your society at that time and during your lifetime. It informs you of the manner in which you can best answer the need of the universe at the time and place you became linked to it associated with it by your first breath, your first response to an open environment. (The mother's womb is a closed environment; you can only struggle against it.) But once the rhythm of your breathing and the complete circulation of the blood through the lungs as well as through the whole body is set, you have become an actor on the world stage. You have a role to play in the universe.
      Your birth chart is the set of information which is given to you so that you can best perform your role. It is your script. There is nothing to change in it, nothing to "rule." The only thing needed is to understand the language in which it is written. The wise man understands this message to himself and does not try to rule or deviate from the script; that is, from his true relation to the universe from what he is for he is the answer to the need of this universe that called him into being. He is a point in the continuum of universal existences four-dimensional continuum. The real fourth dimension is not what we call in science "time," but is a state of existence in which everything interpenetrates everything else.
      I cannot discuss here this fourth dimensional concept of interpenetration, but I may give only one or two examples, and relate it to astrological charts.
      The most occult activity of your body is the breath, just because it brings you this fourth-dimensional experience of being totally penetrated by an air which has been breathed by every living organism of the biosphere of Earth. Through this air, whose vital essence purifies and vitalizes every cell of our body, including our thinking brain, we are one with friends and enemies of all races, colors, creeds, whether we (as little emotional egos brainwashed into believing that we are separate, superior, or inferior, God-chosen or faithless) accept this fact or reject it. Our breathing tells us that we all are part of the Earth. It is not only man's temporary home, a large spaceship, the Earth is a body in which Man-humanity as a whole-operates, as the nervous system operates within a living body. And there are probably as many neurons, or nerve cells, in my body as there are "souls", incarnate or discarnate, within the planetary field (or aura) of the Earth. All of them interpenetrate in that fourth dimension, of which air is a concrete physical manifestation.
      In our birth chart every planet interpenetrates every other. The solar system also is an organic whole. The real planet is not merely a big, material globe; it is its entire orbit. This is what the ancient doctrine of "planetary spheres" was trying to say in symbolic and also musical form. Everything fits into everything else, the smaller into the larger. But the smaller is also "the larger" for all the still smaller units (or "wholes") it contains.
      This is the holistic approach to the universe to all existence. It reveals a holarchic principle at work everywhere. There is no essential separateness. Every planet and star is contained within the fourth dimensional whole the cosmos.
      We are all interrelated and all breathing the same air. And the same sky speaks to us in every individual chart; yet each individual is so patterned that one responds unconsciously to the sky in ones own personal way. Happy the persons who give a conscious, meaningful, understanding response! Happy the persons who perform consciously their roles in the vast drama (or play) of the universe. Astrology can help them to do it if they are ready to accept what is. I do not mean "what is" in social or business terms, but in terms of the message the information which the sky gave them as they joined the company performing the play as they joined it in a fourth dimensional way as "breather," able to speak, able to sing, able to impress their own role upon the airwaves.
      A great deal of fuss is made about playing a role and this in a pejorative sense about a role (or a game) not being the real thing. The trouble is that we have been made blind to the fact that roles are also played at levels of activity transcending the family, social, cultural, business, or national, levels. Every living entity that is born anywhere is playing, more or less effectively, a role in the universe according to its place, time, and specific function.
      When a psychologist speaks of the roles or games we play, he speaks of a way of life determined by social, cultural values often by fashion. But if we live in a society or civilization that has become poisoned by disintegrative forces as ours has now then these roles are often empty, valueless, meaningless caricatures of the archetypal roles of a wholesome, harmonious, organic society.
      A guru in India also plays a role. This role is to induce his chelas to break through the narrow binding patterns of the ego consciousness and ego desire. The modern youth, who is so eager to assert himself or herself to do his own thing may feel that he is no longer playing any role; but actually his is the ego game. At this time of human evolution, especially in the Western world, this role represents a particular temporary phase in the development of human consciousness and is the basis of what we call individualism which is related to an evolutionary stage stressing the analytical, separative, atomistic aspect of man's mind. It is an essential stage. Humanity has to pass through it. But the so-called freedom and individualism it features are forms of role-playing. They may be placed in the background of the world stage in the New Age, when the ideal of "we" and "ours" may overshadow that of "I" and "mine."
      The astrologer facing his client also plays a role perhaps the gypsy fortune-telling role, or the analytical psychologist role or he or she may truly and consciously act as an interpreter, translating the celestial message that could guide the client in the performance of his role of destiny his dharma what he was born for, his God's idea for him.
      Astrology is a language of symbols. The planets are the letters of the words; the factors required to convey to mankind the information it needs. They do not compel you to fall down, to become ill, or to gain money. The sky as a whole speaks to you through astrology because it is that aspect of the universe which is turned toward you, and which you can understand with your limited mentality. Why does the universe speak to you? Because it is concerned with the use you make of the immense energies latent in man's organism just as I am concerned, or something in me is concerned, with the health of every cell of my body, rushing antibodies to fight infection if the cell is hurt or especially sensitive to possible harm.
      Although I have said and written it many times, I must repeat here that everything in your birth chart shows the best way it can be used to actualize your potential destiny. No planet, sign, or house is "bad." No chart is "better" than any other, spiritually speaking. Every chart represents a function to be fulfilled, a precise role that the person has to perform. It is what you are in celestial truth, but it is that only as a potential for you to make actual. It does not compel you to give a positive or a negative meaning to your life events; and what matters is not the event but the meaning you give to it.
      Astrology is not a science. Astronomy is. Because it ascertains facts. Astrology deals with potentialities even of events. For any astrological configuration might refer to a great variety of actual facts. Astrology deals with potentiality of meanings; it is the art of giving valid meanings to every phase of our existence our existence seen as a whole from birth to death. To make of it a predictive science (and the very function of any science is to predict what will happen when this and that factor come together in clearly defined circumstances) is to deny its essential character and validity. If it could actually be proven by statistics and all the modern scientific techniques that it is a science, reliable in its predictions, great possible harm could be done to humanity. For it would at once be used by governments and big business to control the lives of people and to establish an astrologically determined caste system through a rigid analysis of what supposedly every person is capable of doing, in general and at any particular time.
      To say this is not to be a pessimist. It has been said by others, especially in England. It is to see the state of our present society and of the official mentality of our country realistically.
      Astrology can be of great value to Western mankind today, just because it is not a science; because it could be an antidote against the state of mind which has been induced by the material success of analytical methods and technologies. It can be a means to lead people to a deep, vivid sense of their relationship to the universe, to the whole of life. It can help the youth to break through into the realm of meaning, of a symbolism that reveals the connection between all things their interpenetration.
      Space pervades us through and through, just as the air breathed by all men penetrates us totally. We are, live, and have our being as individuals in the universal Whole. We have a place in it, a statement to make on the immense stage of the cosmos. Whatever it be, it is ours; it is our celestial identity. Let us live it fully, whether we call it success or failure, health or illness, joy or pain. Let us accept the universe and our place in it, totally, serenely, nobly standing for what we are, for what we are spiritually, celestially, meant to be. Let us accept all that this stand implies: its joy and its poignancy, the depths as well as the heights.
      Remember! Everything in your chart is what it has to be if you are to fully actualize what you are born for, what God meant you to be when you joined the company of the living. Everything every planet, every aspect between them is there to be used. Each is an integral part of the whole that is your celestial identity. Allow it to serve its purpose. Let it be what it is as part of the living sky that is the real You the Kingdom of Heaven that is within you, as a potential Son of Heaven.
      My friends, in each of you, whoever you are, I salute the whole sky. May its peace dwell within you!

By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill.
Copyright © 1979 by Dane Rudhyar.
All Rights Reserved.

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