Editor’s Note: both these notable and busy astrologers took time out from their schedules to answer the same few questions I put to them by e-mail. I have put their answers together. In most cases, Steven answers first – but in a few, it seemed important to give Jeffrey the first word.|
CF: Recently the transcripts for workshops given with you and Jeffrey Green were published in book form in two volumes with the title Measuring the Night. These two books are about what you call "evolutionary astrology." For our readers, would you briefly discuss what kind of astrology that is, and how you would distinguish it from other kinds of astrology?
Steven Forrest: Compared to most forms of contemporary astrological practice, Evolutionary Astrology represents a very different paradigm. Its language is psychological. It is oriented very much around freedom of choice. The heart of the matter can be summarized in two unabashedly metaphysical statements. First, that the birth chart represents the evolutionary condition of the soul at birth. Second, that it represents the evolutionary intentions of the soul for the present lifetime. We’re not simply describing personality anymore, or predicting events. Reincarnation is assumed throughout. Prior life dynamics, particularly unresolved or traumatic events from prior lives, are reflected in the planetary configurations of the present birth chart. In other words, your present birth chart is viewed as a logical extension of where you were earlier in your journey, in a meaningful, purposeful universe whose key principle is the evolution of consciousness.
Even more importantly, Evolutionary Astrology describes certain tools and strategies which are available to you in the present lifetime for getting on with the larger psycho-spiritual work of your life. My excitement about this kind of astrology derives from the way it integrates astrology’s real roots in metaphysics and perennial philosophy with a very grounded set of psychological attitudes and procedures. Through the lens of astrology, we can glimpse the "childhood of the soul" and apply essentially psychotherapeutic techniques to the resolution of its wounds. In a nutshell, it is a procedural technology which allows us to go further than conventional psychology and much deeper than contemporary astrology.
Jeffrey Wolf Green: Evolutionary Astrology is rooted in a specific astrological paradigm that measures the evolutionary progression of the Soul from life to life. This paradigm allows for an understanding of where the Soul has been and why, where it finds itself now, the current life and why, and what the current intentions are for the Soul in terms of it own evolutionary progression. This is the first time is the 8,000 year history of astrology that such a paradigm has ever been developed. My two volumes on Pluto: The Evolutionary Journey Of The Soul published by Llewellyn, details the nature and use of this paradigm in astrological work.
Most of modern astrology is a descriptive kind of astrology that is reduced to characterizations by signs and houses that are static in nature. Within this there is no linkage to the natural law of cause and effect, one thing causing or leading to another thing, etc. Evolutionary Astrology is rooted in what we can call 'natural law'. Natural law does not require belief systems of any kind, it only demands validation of one’s life experience. Natural law of course is reflected in the natural law of cause and effect.
Evolutionary Astrology allows for a total understanding of the law of cause and effect thru the Soul’s journey thru time: of what has lead to what, what has caused this or that. Even the word Soul has never been correlated to any astrological symbol, or in any meaningful way been written about in astrological literature, prior to my books on Pluto. My books on Pluto have filled this breach. The Soul is not something static and fixed. The Soul, consciousness, evolves.
Since evolutionary astrology embraces the Soul as the causative factor for life itself, and God is the origin of all Souls and thus the ultimate causative factor for life and death, the depth and totality of knowledge about any given Soul is complete. This is, again, very different than the common astrology of memorized, static, characterizations relative to signs, houses, and planets. As a result, evolutionary astrology has really become the leading edge of astrology itself AS IT EVOLVES.
The Pluto books that I have written have become all time best sellers in astrological literature, and have been published in many, many languages. I lecture all over the world on this and the response to this work on evolutionary astrology simply packs the houses. I have established the School For Evolutionary Astrology around the world because of this demand, and I have a videotaped correspondence course that allows one to become a certified evolutionary astrologer. Increasingly, the terms evolution, Soul, and "evolutionary astrology" are being used by more and more astrologers in their own work. And this is a good thing but one problem this can lead to is a distortion in what evolutionary astrology actually is.
In almost any profession when a new something, or paradigm, is developed by someone, and this new something or paradigm is successful, others of course try to jump on the bandwagon in order to benefit themselves. In astrology today others are now trying to use this kind of terminology but most are simply changing a few words relative a pre-existing static, old-time, kind of astrology. Simply read the Mountain Astrologer magazine to discover this. In essence, evolutionary astrology compared to our existing astrology, can be understood in this way: If I am reading a book, and let’s say I am reading chapter 7, in order to understand chapter seven I probably should have read the first six chapters of the book. Similarly, modern astrology, current astrology, is limited to reading only chapter seven. Evolutionary Astrology is the reading of the chapters that have come before that have lead to chapter seven.
CF: In our online magazine, we recently posted an article on the use of the South Nodal chart developed (or, as he claimed rediscovered) by Robert Jansky. This was a technique designed to help pinpoint health issues. Would you share some information with us about how the moon’s nodes are used in Evolutionary Astrology?
SF: Jansky’s work is brilliant, but like most astrological symbols the Nodes of the Moon have many levels of meaning. When you stop and think about it, you realize that in astrology we really have only several dozen basic symbols, and together they form a detailed, multi-dimensional model of all life at every level. Each symbol has to be packed with meaning, and there’s a certain shortsightedness in trying to defend partisan, one-dimensional interpretations. In Evolutionary Astrology, the Lunar Nodes constitute the basic axis of past and future. The South Node essentially represents everything we have brought into this life from the past - strengths, weakness, attachments, and attitudes. Its psychic "gravitational field" is quite analogous to the impact of childhood experience upon the adult character. Think how enriching it is to our understanding of a friend to meet his or her parents! A close, formal analysis of the Moon’s South Node provides something even deeper: an understanding of the childhood of the soul. Meanwhile, the North Node represents the evolutionary intentions of the soul in this life . . . how to get on with the process of creating the future. A full analysis of the Nodes can be found, by the way, in Measuring the Night, Volume One, Chapter Six. Really, you can’t get too many pages deep into either volume of Measuring the Night without finding a lot of nodal material. They are absolutely elemental to Evolutionary Astrology.
JG: The Moon’s nodes are part of the entire evolutionary paradigm. They are essential in terms of understanding the ‘prior’ chapters in one’s own personal book: the lives leading to the current life. Pluto correlates to the Soul itself. In any given life the Soul creates an ego for itself, where the ego is orientated to ‘phenomenal’ reality’ in such a way that the very orientation to reality correlates to the underlying intention for the life which is determined by the Soul itself. Thus, the South Node of the Moon correlates to the types of egos that the Soul has created before, and why. It correlates, as a result, to our need to be emotionally self-consistent in order to feel secure. Security is a function, for most of us, rooted in the need to be self-consistent. Self-consistency is itself rooted in our past: familiar, known, realities.
The future, of itself, is merely an abstract. We only know for sure that there is a future because we have had a past. The past is always shaping and conditioning the nature of the present moment in order [for us] to feel secure in that moment. Since the future is an ‘unknown,’ most of us project our pasts into the future in order to feel secure. This is why most of us only evolve a little bit in each life, and that which can lead to the real sense of stagnation, not growing. The North Node of the Moon correlates to the evolving ego in the current life relative to the core intentions for the life which is determined by the Soul. Thus, the tensions between the evolutionary forces of the past oppose the evolutionary forces of one’s future: evolution. This ongoing tension between one’s past and one’s future is experienced and integrated thru the current life natal Moon.
CF: You also use some other astrological techniques many of our readers may find unfamiliar, such as planetary nodes. Would you care to discuss those just a bit?
SF: This is Jeff’s territory more than mine... let’s let him answer.
JG: Each planet correlates to an archetype or ‘story’. All planets combined correlate to the total story of oneself. All planets of course have their own north and south nodes. [They form] a natural trinity, like the South and North Nodes of the Moon relative to the natal Moon itself. A past, present, and future. Thus, the south nodes of any planet correlate to the prior chapters in that story or book: the total story. In order to totally and completely understand, let’s say, the current life Venus, one must understand the South Node of Venus in order to know how and why the current life Venus is manifesting. In order to understand how the Venus function or archetype is intending to evolve in the current life is to understand the North Node of Venus.
CF: Some people believe an energy crisis is looming over the horizon. A few of these people even have very dire things to say about our civilization’s energy crisis. What do you see on the horizon, and do you have any comment on current trends?
JG: To me this is an utterly bogus idea. There still exists on our planet plenty of energy sources that can sustain civilization for a long, long time. The real issue to me is how these energy sources and resources are DISTRIBUTED by those who are the energy distributors like OPEC. The current ‘energy’ crisis to me is an invention by people like Bush so that this charade can be used as a rationalization to rape our environment even more so that the rich can get richer. Conversely, with Uranus and Neptune moving thru Aquarius this has and will give rise to innovations in alternative energy sources like wind power, solar cell technologies, and the like.
SF: With Uranus and Neptune in Aquarius, radical new solutions and technologies are arising even now in most categories of energy production - fuel cells, clean, fuel-efficient engines, solar power. I suspect we’ll see effective nuclear fusion technologies available before this Aquarian traffic jam is over. We may also see some breakthroughs in terms of superconductivity. Balancing all my bullishness on the technology front is my deeper sense that we are completely out of balance with natural law and the ways of nature. Currently, we humans are displaying all the industry of termites eating a hole in the bottom of the boat that’s carrying us. Unless we change, the "energy crisis" will seem like happy fantasy. Nature will press that frightening perspective at us with increasing assertiveness over the next few years. I’m looking hard at 2006- 8, when Pluto lines up with galactic center as the time when we will see hard, scary evidence for a truth we all know: we just can’t keep poisoning the earth. We’ve been saying that a long time, then going out and buying our SUVs. I believe this convenient compartmentalization will collapse as nature speaks up later this decade.
CF: On June 21, at about 7:57 a.m. EDT, there will be a total solar eclipse. What makes this eclipse particularly interesting is that it takes place just a few minutes after the solstice (Sun ingress into tropical Cancer) - and - during those days, Mars is in its perigee, or closest approach to the earth for something like 15 years. Do any of those phenomena strike you as interesting or significant? Two weeks later, on July 5, there will be a lunar eclipse at 13 degrees Cancer/Cap. People sometimes get very excited about eclipses, but they happen fairly frequently. Do you have anything you’d like to share on the subject?
SF: (I’ll let Jeff do this one)
JG: To me there has been too much projected into eclipses by too many... on the other hand I have seen through observation and correlation that eclipses can serve as ‘triggers’ for cataclysmic events when there is enough pre-existing stress [between] the evolutionary forces that correlate to necessary evolutionary growth or change[and] that [which] is preventing this growth. In essence, the resistance to the necessary growth is the causative factor that ‘triggers’ the cataclysmic event so that the growth that is necessary can occur.
CF: Solar Maximum will take place during 2002. This 21-22 year cycle seems to coincide with astronomical and astrological cycles. Are there some cycles that will take place during that year that you find interesting?
SF: Well, I personally think that the Solar Cycle itself is amazing - and another source of amazement for me is the extent to which it is ignored by the larger astrological community! We can essentially PROVE the effectiveness of "astrology," broadly defined, even to hardened skeptics with about a twenty-minute look at the way history correlates with the sunspot cycle. Basically, at the peaks, people get hot. They’re not always smart, but they sure are enthusiastic - look at the late sixties, for example. We see cultural ferment, new leaders, wars, migrations, religious fanaticism, and incredible feats of productivity. It’s a big subject and rather than try to summarize it here, I’d refer readers to Measuring the Night, Vol. One, Chapter Eight or to my book, The Night Speaks.
JG: The primary ‘cycle’ or transit that interests me most in that period is the transit of Pluto over the collective south node of Uranus at 14 degrees of Sagittarius.
CF: In the online magazine, we recently posted an article composed of people's responses to the question "Who are your astrological heroes?" So, who are yours?
SF: When I was young, I got my start reading Joseph Goodavage - his book Write Your Own Horoscope was the first place where I read about the specific meanings of each of the planets. I read everything I could get my hands on after that, but I found a certain dry mechanicalness in most of the literature. The books seemed to be suggesting that I would be wound up astrologically at birth and then wiggle and giggle in predictable ways until I died. I found it all dispiriting. That led me to read more in the vein of the esoteric English astrologers, who were actually almost as bad but there was often a little taste of magic running through their work. I liked Buddhism and Theosophy, and wanted to see a little more "soul" in astrology. I needed heroes then perhaps more than I do now, but I’d say that back when I was in my twenties, those astrological heroes were Charles E. O. Carter and Ronald Davison. I should also mention Rodney Collin, who wasn’t really an astrologer in the technical sense in his published work, but he vastly deepened my perspective on the way astrology, consciousness, and the laws of nature interacted. If I had to pick one hero above all the others, I guess it would Rodney Collin. His book The Theory of Celestial Influence is a cult classic.
JG: To me Rudhyar was the greatest of the great. His contribution essentially changed the face of 19th century into modern psychological and metaphysical astrology ...an astrology of a living, breathing, whole. Robert Jansky was a hero for me too, because he essentially revolutionized medical astrology.
CF: What are you up to these days? Do you have any new books coming out? Report programs? New lecture cycles? Can you tell us about them?
SF: My wife, Jodie, and I are quite excited about our Seven Paws Press. Jodie established it to publish her wonderful "Rhymer" trilogy of historical fantasy novels, and we used the business structure she’d established to bring out both volumes of Measuring the Night. We’re not looking for other authors at this point, but it may happen down the road. Right now, she and I are re-writing our synastry book, Skymates, which was a Bantam original in the early 90s and later had a brief, unpublicized life at ACS. The new version is a major revision. It will have a lot more of a metaphysical perspective since we are now free to write at whatever level we choose - one tremendous advantage of self-publishing... I remember one famous conversation with an major astrological publisher who was saying that the word "enhance" was "too hard" for the typical astrological audience. I just don’t believe that. Jodie and I understand that there’s a difference between the word "beginner" and the word "stupid"!
The new Skymates will have much more "cookbook" material in it since I hear over and over again how much students appreciate having concrete interpretation of specific configurations, like I used in my Book of Pluto. The original Skymates included a brief section about the composite chart. Our intention now is to delete all that material, and bring out the rest as Skymates, Volume One. After that we plan a completely new book on the composite chart, which will be Skymates, Volume Two. We’ll probably do a report writer based on that material too. The whole project will probably take us two or three years, with volume one due out sometime in 2002.
Meanwhile, I’m also profoundly engaged with my astrological apprenticeship programs in California. They’ve been very successful. We meet four days at a time, a couple times a year. Both venues are out in beautiful rural areas, so we get away from that deadeningly cerebral place that hotels and fluorescent lighting seems to take people. It’s warm and human, and the aim is taking people from a situation where they have a head full of dry astrological theory to a situation where they can actually sit down with another human being and help them learn, grow, and feel better. The actual application of astrological counseling is always going to be my number one interest and love.
JG: I am very busy writing a ‘textbook’ on Evolutionary Astrology which is based on my video correspondence course for evolutionary astrology. It will be a three-volume set of over 1200 pages total. Within this, I have started Daemon Press which is intended to publish astrological books dedicated to evolutionary astrology. In the next few years I will be putting a lot of energy into Daemon Press in order to help it grow. I continue to have Schools Of Evolutionary Astrology around the world that I teach. I have also started the first annual conference on Evolutionary Astrology with Steve Forrest. This is very exciting to me. Beyond that there must be seven or eight other books in my head that I want to actually sit down and write. As a result, I am now stopping my counseling practice to devote my time to this.
CF: Is there any trend in the astrological community or the world at large that has you excited about or even optimistic for the future?
SF: Nothing has ever excited me as much as Evolutionary Astrology. I love this stuff. It feels like a complete paradigm shift. Astrologically, I’ve been working in a kind of psycho-metaphysical vein ever since I began to practice full-time in 1976, but the cross-fertilization of Jeff Green’s work with my own has just created a Renaissance for me. People are eating it up, at least outside the various axes of political power in the astrological world, where there’s been some grumbling - Jeff and I were rather pointedly and obviously excluded from a recent major conference, for example. That kind of pettiness aside, what I know for sure is that my practice is completely flooded. My lectures are packed. Sales of both volumes of Measuring the Night are well into the black. In a larger sense, with all the hard work people have been doing on themselves since the cultural shifts of the 1960s, my feeling is that the "consumers" have basically gotten miles ahead of their astrologers, who are mostly still trying to "delineate" that incredible, elusive moving target that we call a living human being. With evolutionary astrology, we have a tool that addresses the realities of where modern people actually find themselves in their journeys. I find it incredibly exciting.
JG: In astrology it is the progressive embracement of the astrological community of Evolutionary Astrology... for the world itself there is nothing that has me optimistic... quite the opposite.
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