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Astrophysical Directions
by Michael Erlewine


In Astrophysical Directions
Introduction Coordinate Systems The Solar System The Solar Neighborhood The Galaxy Galactic Objects The Fixed Stars Star Clusters & Nebulae Non-Visual Astronomy External Galaxies Finder-Lists, etc.

I would like to share a few experiences and thoughts with you concerning some of the structure in space beyond the zodiac and how it can be of value in individual development and growth. Let me relate a personal story as to how I first got interested in the deeper regions of space. My research, as some of you will know, has centered on the difference and relationship between the geocentric and heliocentric ecliptic systems. My interest in the space surrounding our solar system was minimal. I was put off by the billions of stellar objects out there and, on a more basic level, by the ideas of coldness and blackness I had been programmed to associate with outer space.

Distant space somehow represented the epitome of 'otherness' and 'foreign' to me. I was embarrassed, in terms of astrological usage, by all of the books I had read on the fixed stars with the exception of L. E. Johndro's book, The Stars. How was I to determine the significance of these billions of stars and use them in my practice, when I had enough difficulty, as it was, using the nine planets?

And then the unexpected happened. I had a dream, a very special dream. It was not an ordinary dream, but one of those dreams that are more real than waking consciousness and that take months to understand and absorb.

In my dream the astrologer L. E. Johndro appeared to me and his eyes were filled with light. There were rays or stalks of light coming out of his eyes. This strange being said but one word, "LOOK!" and with his arm turned and pointed to the night sky. I looked.

The sky was filled with brilliant points of light. The stars and all of this starry material was clustered together to form the great glowing arch of the Milky Way or galactic plane. It was wondrous beyond description and, in that instant, my heart went out from me and filled this bright space. Never again have I had the feeling of being here on earth, warm and trembling, before the cold and black of space. I became the space and light and reversed my polarity or attitude. I was a living representative of this mother galaxy. I was the spaceman!

From that night forward I began to venture beyond the zodiac in an inquiry as to the nature and structure of this universe. Here, in brief form, is what I found for myself:

We are nodes or information aggregates. The universe is in intimate contact with itself through us. The manifold nature of the cosmic events is represented through our self and lives. There is not only a correlation between these seeming remote cosmic events and our person, but an identity as well. Information coming from the galactic center, carried by electromagnetic and gravitational radiation from every last star and cosmic plane and event, passes through us at all times. We are, in some way, a node or information complex caught in a matrix or web of manifestation.

The overpowering idea that occurs when we make some acquaintance with the universe and its structure is that there is no difference between out there and in here. We are out there! Our world and our self and relationships are a perfect reflection of what IS and what is happening out there. Not an analogy, but an identity. Black holes, supernovae, quasars, and the like are not remote cosmic events, but this identical story is represented, reflected, lived, and acted out each day in our lives.

Information circulates through the universe, and our Identity or sense of our self is this very process of circulation. Identity is not a substance but a relationship, in fact, a circulation, and a process of communion or communication. Not only is there a connection between our life and that of our galaxy and universe, but: WE ARE the connection.

A study of the structure of the universe, at any level, is a study of ourselves. The guidelines of cosmic structure help to illustrate the specific structure of our self. In summary, the idea that I am elaborating here is: astrology is not only a symbolic system of psychological discussion. The symbol is also, in fact, real. If we say it is an analogy, then the analogy is complete down to the limits of any specific example we might chose.

We are all time and space travelers. There are no better words that I know of than these of Emerson:


"All inquiry into antiquity is the desire to do away with this wild, savage, and preposterous There or Then, and introduce in its place, the Here and the Now. Belzoni (an archeologist) digs and measures in the mummy-pits and pyramids of Thebes until he can see the end of the difference between the monstrous work and himself. When he has satisfied himself, in general and in detail, that it was made by such a person as he, so armed and so motivated, and to ends to which he, himself, should also have worked, the problem is solved; his thought lives along the whole line of temples and sphinxes and catacombs, passes through them all with satisfaction, and they live again to the mind, or are NOW."
— Essay on History.


A process of self-discovery awaits those who would inquire into the nature and structure of this universe. We may read and study the history and record of astrology through all of the books we have. We may return again and again to our favorite passages to make sure of what we have found there. But, sooner or later, each of us must turn away from the book and just LIVE.

We must become the book and only that lives which we have known for ourselves to have life, which we have lived. There is great value in a reading of the ancient wisdom and documents. What the ancients saw or discovered about themselves, the truth, is still true today. All of the law of the universe still exists to be known today. We are always free to leave off at reading about our life and cast off into an inquiry, our inquiry, and to live that life. We can learn to know what we are talking about.
— Michael Erlewine


Note: This material was first published in the book Astrophysical Directions in 1976, more than 40 years ago. It consists of material compiled by myself in the early 1970s, after several years spent camping out at the astronomy and physics library at the University of Michigan.


© Copyright © 1997 Michael Erlewine


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