Transpersonal Astrology: Explorations at the Frontier
Edited by Armand Diaz, Eric Meyers and Andrew Smith
Reviewed by Helen Stokes
in the Astrological Association Journal: March-April 2014
As an astrologer, and also as a student currently midway through a transpersonal psychotherapy training, I was initially intrigued by the title of this book, a collection of essays on the subject of transpersonal astrology. To me, astrology is by its very nature transpersonal. In its simplest form, transpersonal means ‘beyond the personal’ and the symbols and archetypes that form the basis of astrology to me, clearly contain ideas that go beyond the personal; so why put these words together in this way?
Within the introduction, the editors of the book acknowledge that “astrology is ultimately transpersonal in scope” (p.2), but contend that although the transpersonal perspective is gaining ground in areas such as psychology and spirituality, it has made little progress in
astrology. From my own perspective, as someone who has completed a training in psychological astrology, I found this somewhat surprising to read, as I consider many of the astrologers whom I admire, such as Liz Greene and Lynn Bell, to follow a transpersonal approach.
However, whether or not you agree with the authors, it is a delight to read so many different outlooks on the transpersonal through an astrological perspective, and certainly giving the book such a title will no doubt bring attention towards this way of working with astrology. Certain essays look at more philosophical issues, such as Armand Diaz on the evolution of collective consciousness and Bill Streett on the current Uranus-Pluto square and the connection between collective consciousness and technology. Others are more concerned with the application of the transpersonal to astrology. Benjamin Bernstein describes his version of shamanic astrology, including a useful verbatim of a consultation and a step-by-step guide for others to follow, while Sherene Shostak combines her work as a Jungian analyst with astrology, resulting in an insightful essay on the animus in the natal chart. I also enjoyed the ideas raised by Faye Cossar as she pondered whether the transpersonal is becoming personal.
My own belief is that our essential human nature is spiritual: there is a higher consciousness or spirit and we are all connected to it. Through a natal chart, we are able to consider how an individual’s sense of self or personality has come to uniquely express that divinity and there are always new ideas and paths to consider. This book piques our curiosity and encourages us to travel new paths, and should be applauded for doing so. It presents astrology as a dynamic and creative system with a range of possibilities, leaving the reader’s mind brimming with potential – definitely worth a read.