This review by Claudia Johnson appeared in the December 2013 ISAR journal:
TRANSPERSONAL ASTROLOGY: Explorations at the Frontier
Produced and Edited by Armand Diaz, Eric Meyers and Andrew Smith
Considered a father of Quantum Physics, Max Planck said:
The pioneer scientist must have “vivid intuitive imaginations, for new ideas are not generated by deduction, but by artistically creative imagination.” Max Planck (1858 – 1947)
The 16 authors contributing to this book are indeed “pioneer” Astrologers. 16 Astrologers with artistically creative imaginations have contributed to these Explorations at the Frontier. The editors, Armand Diaz, Eric Meyers and Andrew Smith call the book a compendium of innovative writing. They invited other writers, astrologers, and thinkers to go ‘beyond the personal’ and to see boundaries, planets—Saturn, in particular, not just as a wall but as a gate.
Just look at this list of contributors to this gateway of a book: Benjamin Bernstein, Faye Cossar, Dena DeCastro, Adam Elenbaas, Maurice Fernandez, Adam Gainsburg, Margaret Gray, Mark Jones, Julene Packer-Louis, Jesica Murray, Rafael Nasser, Bill Streett and Sherene Vismaya Schostak—and of course, Eric Myers, Armand Diaz and Andrew Smith.
The titles alone (as well as the compelling cover-art) were enough to keep me reading. The Telos of Techne: Technological Development and the Uranus-Pluto Cycle by Bill Streett or how about The Death Chart by Maurice Fernandez? Or consider the Vertex: Fate, Serendipity and Attraction, by Julene Packer-Louis. (I, frankly, had NOT in my 40 years as an Astrologer, considered the Vertex until I was privileged to be asked to review the book!).
Early in the book, (Chapter 2), Jessica Murray, with her beautiful command of language—and her straight forward style, says: “It was a bold move of ours, being born into this particular epoch”
These times are framed by Jessica when she writes:
Within this epochal transition—and as of this writing—the Uranus-Pluto square is peaking, its symbolism explicitly expressing the radical necessity of the times. In Capricorn until 2023, transiting Pluto is forcing an up surge of awareness of the patriarchal assumptions and destructive practices of the industrial world, and of the plutocratic imbalances that exist even in putative democracies. All over the globe, old certitudes are splintering and crashing down. A lot is happening and in exact parallel with the urgency of the times, the potential exists for a spike in human consciousness.
I say it was and is a bold move to produce this book—with all authors contributing to the promoting of what the editors call “One of the most hopeful currents of our time~ what they are calling a “transpersonal perspective”. Eric Meyers says a transpersonal perspective means: going beyond the personal ~ holding a perspective broader than the self as the center of existence.
All 16 authors are participating in and are calling for that spike in human consciousness. They do not all speak with the same voice or methodology or even from the same source material, but they are each speaking into and from the “radical necessity of the times”. They do the current Uranus/Pluto/Neptunian transits proud.
Exemplary of the range of writing styles and thought this little book contains, Rafael Nassar, author of Chapter 16 titled Astrology: The Noetic Science takes us to the theater. His discussion of the transpersonal and noetic science using the analogy of a play—sparked my imagination and I was enthralled.
At one point, a character on the stage comes alive in wonderfully described outfits to explain to us the history of the Modern Age. (No small feat!) His name is Professor Opum. Facing the audience, the esteemed Professor quotes Werner Heisenberg, the pioneering theoretical physicist whose ‘uncertainty principle’ is legend in the lore of quantum physics—he says in a practiced 20th century German accent:
“zee first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at zee bottom of zee glass, God is waiting for you.”
I read the chapters as though looking at “zee bottom of a glass” and studiously took notes on each one–except for one. While reading Chapter 13, Sherene Vismaya Schostak’s piece Killer in the Home (Talk about a compelling title!), I forgot to take notes. Why? Because I was too busy trying to figure out if my Gemini related animus (e.g. “you can’t write”) was at work–And what did “the Killer in my Home” have to do with Astrology—or with a chapter in a book titled Transpersonal Astrology? Oh right: Trans= that Latin noun or prefix, meaning “across”, “beyond” or “on the opposite side”. I had to look up, laugh, make lunch and do battle with that inner killer to, as Schostak says, “keep my creativity alive and thriving” – trans-and-beyond–the personal/ego. So. Taking a deep breath, I got back to it. And in transit, I found each chapter holds both broad brush and small strokes of genius and magic.
Speaking of magic—
Dena DeCastro in Chapter 5 titled Neptune and Opening to Creativity, dives into the waters of art and finds herself calling “on an ability to surrender, to trust, and to allow creativity to flow through her”. That, she asserts, is natal Neptune at work.
Following a fine inquiry into creativity and looking at the charts of artists (Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and others) she points to that Neptunian call for surrender and says:
Whether or not we believe in the Muse or in angels, perhaps when we simply humble ourselves enough to ask for help, we are reminded that creative ideas do not actually come from us, but through us. By placing ourselves in the position of ‘servant’ to the work, the pressure to come up with something unique, spectacular, earth-shattering…dissolves and is released.
…Our lives can become infused with magic—and magic, says Dena, is something that “I, for one, would not want to live without.”
In Faye Cossar’s Chapter 7 titled Is the Transpersonal Becoming Personal? The Planets as a Guide to Consciousness Evolution, I appreciated her owning right off the bat her love/hate relationship with the words “transpersonal” and “ego” saying that there were so many different ways of describing their meaning that she had given up on using them. But now that she used one of them in her title she figured she’d better look at the meaning of transpersonal in more depth. And she does just that. She synthesizes without watering down the principle successfully keeps the baby (history and tradition) in the bath.
And here is one of those little ‘gems’ that one finds throughout this book and one that caught my eye…
Considering the “as above, so below” principle, something major happened in 2006. Pluto was named a dwarf planet. AND Ceres was also reclassified at the same level as Pluto.
Head on over to p. 107-108 and ponder Faye’s assertion that:
…this means that what is coming into consciousness again (after a trial run between 1801 and 1850) is the older wise-woman archetype. It is an energy that can match Neptune, Pluto and Jupiter. And in the mythology, Ceres does. Although she is overruled by her brothers, she fights back and negotiates with them to get what she wants. Ceres (Demeter) is a complex archetype, and her field has been very active since 2006. Food, genetically modified produce, fertility, the environment, democracy, women’s rights, climate change and natural cycles—all part of her remit—have all become very important globally.
Ok– so now I really am going to include Ceres in my chart work!
The rise and importance of “the feminine”, of relationships, and women themselves, is a theme that can be found throughout this book, much to the satisfaction of this reviewer.
Margaret Gray writes in Chapter 12 about Relationships—(how can we possibly even talk about the personal “trans” or not without talking about Being Related!) The title of her chapter is Changing Relationships: A Transpersonal Approachand she insists that relationships CAN work (damit)…we can have healthy relationships—— and we can move past the Stop signs to true loving.. We’ve all seen those Stop signs and Margaret lays out in Astrological language practical ways to see the sign, thank it for sharing, and step beyond, trans-porting ourselves onto new paths.
In keeping with the times—you might want to visit each author’s site (Google their names) or “like” the Transpersonal Astrology Facebook page. You can bet these authors check that page—let them know what in this book has generated your own creative imagination.
This book is an invitation to being in relationship with that which trans-personal and to heed Max Planck’s assertion that: “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”.
I recommend it primarily to Astrologers, new and old.
Claudia Johnson, M.A.