Astrotherapy

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Astrotherapy

Astrotherapy, also called clinical astrology, is a practice which integrates astrology and clinical psychotherapy. While astrology is still not an accepted practice within mainline psychological disciplines, it has found a place within psychotherapy and is currently utilized in this field which itself is radically divided into different camps based upon variant and even contradictory approaches to the human psyche. Thus defined, astrotherapy "includes any form of treatment utilizing astrological precepts to treat emotional and behavioral problems, remove or modify existing symptoms, and promote positive personality growth and fulfillment." Attempts have been made to integrate astrology with various schools of psychotherapy.

Psychotherapist Carl Jung 's (1875-1961) stated appreciation of astrology provided contemporary astrology with an additional set of credentials and his theory of synchronicity assisted astrologers in their movement beyond the deterministic worldviews that had dominated astrological practice in centuries past. Jung stated that he had found that astrology illuminated aspects of his clients' personality that he had otherwise been unable to understand. He saw the astrological signs and the planets as symbols of the powers operating in the unconscious aspect of the personality, and was often amazed at the manner in which a person's horoscope coincided with observed psychological events and manifest character traits. Horoscopes demonstrate synchronicity, which he defined as "The simultaneous occurrence of a certain psychic state with one or more external events which appear as meaningful parallels to the momentary subjective state."

Dane Rudhyar began integrating Jungian psychology into astrological practice in the mid-1930s and his 1936 volume, The Astrology of Personality, is now seen as a watershed in the post-scientific astrological revival. Rudhyar understood the human personality as a dynamic entity that held a variety of opposing forces in more-or-less equilibrium. The human psyche was developing toward wholeness (understood in Jungian terms as individuation) and self-realization. The horoscope pictures these opposing forces and their distribution and relative strength in the individual.

Rudhyar was a voice crying in the wilderness until the 1960s and the emergence of humanistic astrology. Previously, psychotherapy had almost totally concentrated on individual pathology, but humanistic psychology focused upon creating and improving the basically healthy personality. It also provided a model for understanding the purposeful activity of human beings as they operated within a meaningful world. Again, Rudhyar was the first to see the potential of humanistic psychology for understanding the truth of astrology and for freeing astrology finally from its deterministic past. He initiated the humanistic astrology movement and in 1969 founded the International Committee for Humanistic Astrology. He found an immediate response from a new generation of astrologers including Stephen Arroyo, Zipporah Dobbins, Liz Greene, and Robert Hand. Their combined efforts would remake astrology in the 1970s.

Through the 1980s, astrology was recognized as one of the tools for transformation that facilitated individual transformation and movement into a New Age consciousness. Astrotherapy was integrated into the movement as if they had been made for each other. At the same time, practitioners dealt with the problems inherent in the introduction of such a questionable tool as a horoscope into the therapeutic environment and answered the most frequent challenges to their practice posed by colleagues. Rudhyar, always on the cutting edge of the movement, began to call for an integration of the findings of transpersonal psychology and its exploration of transcendent states of consciousness.

A variety of professional structures were created to assist contact in the small but growing number of astrotherapists, including the Rudhyar Institute for Transpersonal Activity. In the United Kingdom, the Centre for Psychological Astrology, founded in 1982 as the Centre for Transpersonal Astrology by Liz Greene and Howard Sasportas, emerged as an organization offering classes both for individuals who wish to gain personal insights and for colleagues seeking professional training. The centre also publishes Apollon, the Journal of Psychological Practice. Just as psychotherapy is a dynamic field, astrotherapy continues to grow and change as it integrates fresh psychological insights into astrological practice.

Sources:

Arroyo, Stephen. The Practice and Profession of Astrology. Sebastopol, Calif.: CRCS, 1985.

Dobbins, Zipporah. Expanding Astrology's Universe. 2nd ed. San Diego: Astro Computing Services, 1988.

Greene, Liz. The Astrology of Fate. York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, 1984.

Hand, Robert S. Essays in Astrology. Rockport, Mass.: Para Research, 1982.

Perry, Glenn. "Astrotherapy." In James R. Lewis. The Encyclopedia of Astrology. Detroit: Gale Research, 1994.

Rudhyar, Dane. Astrological Study of Psychological Complexes and Emotional Problems. 2nd ed. Wassenaar, the Netherlands: Servire, 1969.

. The Astrology of Personality: A Re-formulation of Astrological Concepts and Ideals, in Terms of Contemporary Psychology and Philosophy. New York: Lucis Publishing, 1936.

. Beyond Individualism: The Psychology of Transformation. Wheaton, Ill.: Theosophical Publishing House, 1979.

. From Humanistic to Transpersonal Astrology. Lakemont, Ga.: CSA Press, 1972.

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