There are some people who may be moved to choose a non-ordinary path that goes beyond the modern views of psychology. This type of person is asking different questions and wants different things from life. They are asking questions such as, “What steps can I take to grow spiritually?” Counseling for this type of person will include the development of an awareness of one’s conditioning or programming and the effort to release that conditioning in favor of the adoption of ‘higher’ viewpoints and considerations. Why? Because the old programming is seen as blocking us from becoming all that we are capable of being. While the discovery of the nature of one’s programming is also a part of the normal therapeutic process, in transpersonal psychology it takes a prominent place in the work one must do and is considered to be a necessary prelude to developing truly new viewpoints.
Two new fields are emerging in psychology today that has tremendous potential in the way that astrology will be practiced in the future. It is not my intention to go into this in depth here, but it can be helpful for those who might consider working with a counselor using this approach, to hear with what this new form of therapy is concerned. To me the two fields are not separate in that they are both concerned with helping people achieve a higher level of understanding about both themselves and the world in which they live. Their histories are different, however. Depth psychology has developed from the work of Dr. Carl Jung, who was very focused on developing a theory that would integrate the conscious and unconscious minds of a person. He saw that in each of us is both our own personal unconscious and even deeper still, the ‘collective unconscious.’ This meant to him that all of us by virtue of our being human beings share, archetypally, the same collective issues and themes. He saw that these themes emerge in us through our dreams as well as in our daily lives.
The aim of Jung’s approach is to help a person widen their perspective so that a state of holism and integration can be reached. This process he called ‘individuation.’ What I took from my studies and practice of his work is that the individuation process enables a person to expand their view of life from being involved only with personal ego, a small way of living and being in the world to an understanding that one is participating in an archetypal world, of which they are a part. To become aware of how this is operating, one can become able to consciously live the highest expression of their specific nature, which is archetypal and is indicated by one’s birth chart. We can consciously seek to attune with the spiritual qualities of each archetypal theme until our lives are both ennobled and empowered. ‘Individuation’ is also considered to be concerned with living in a holistic and integrated way. In part, this can be achieved by assisting the patient to become conscious of his ‘Shadow’, or unconscious desires and motivations, so that one could accept them and integrate them into the personality in a constructive, rather than destructive way. Interestingly, Jung kept some of his metaphysical/spiritual beliefs and interests quiet so that his work might be accepted by mainstream psychiatry. In his later years, he became much more open and even published a book titled “Synchronicity” which is essentially an astrological analysis that was beautifully done.
Transpersonal psychology developed differently, though they seem to me to express two sides of one process. Many people familiar with the history of transpersonal psychology are shocked to discover that the person who first coined the term was the astrologer, Dane Rudhyar. He did this in 1930, some 40 years before the time when these ideas began to take root. This fact is only known by a few people in psychology or astrology. In fact, few astrologers are aware of the nature of Rudhyar’s great contributions.
There are several definitions of transpersonal psychology, but the one I offer to you is this. Transpersonal psychology is concerned with the process whereby human beings can become vehicles for the qualities and powers of the Divine, wherein we begin to embody these qualities and become aware of our own divine nature. The second important idea is that the human being is not yet complete, or even fully human. We are still evolving. This idea suggests something very important, which is that when we work on ourselves, we are also working for humanity itself. We begin to see that when a person progresses spiritually, the entire world is helped. There is much more to this field than these two ideas, but this will give you a good start.
My Astrological counseling practice is founded on the idea that I will meet clients where they are. Some are not interested in the transpersonal approach and this is fine. However, there are some who are seeking to self-actualize or grow to higher levels of consciousness. Astrological united with spiritual counseling can be very helpful in this process. The implication of this view is that the following fundamental question must be asked. “Why am I not aware of my divine nature?” This means that this type of work requires a deep examination of one’s conditioning or programming which is seen as blocking us from experiencing our own true, divine nature so that we prepare ourselves for an opening to truly new ways of Being.