Astrology and Consciousness

James L. Page and How Astrology works

Unlike most astrologers, James Page says that the subject of “how astrology works”  has always fascinated him and he has actually written a very interesting book addressing the subject. 

The main claim made in the book by astrologer James L Page is that the tools of science – observation and experiment – are inadequate for the assessment of astrology.  This is an objection that is often raised by the astrological community, but James Page goes further and actually explains why.

The main reason is that astrology is, as he calls it, the “Language of Consciousness”, to be more precise of human consciousness (i.e. our psyche).

What is Consciousness?

Nobody knows what consciousness really is, so how can it be measured objectively as science requires?!?. 

For decades consciousness has been considered to be a by-product of nervous activity in the brain.  Scientists have searched for the “consciousness area” of the brain, which was believed to exist just like the areas responsible for movement, the vital functions, sight, hearing, etc, and have never found it.

Quantum physics has provided an alternative and intriguing view of consciousness.   The study of the atomic structure of matter has disproven materialism completely.  We now know that objects appear to be solid only because our limited senses are unable to perceive that, in truth, they are made up of atoms at enormous distances from each other, so that they are mostly empty space.  What is more, the ultimate constituents of nature do not have  “built-in” properties, these properties occur only when the experimenter, by an act of consciousness, changes their state.  In other words, there is no objective reality out there. 

This has led many physicists to a line of thought that agrees with Plato’s belief that what we see are only shadows of the reality.  James Page expounds the Theory of the Implicate Order of David Bohm, a physicist who spent many years meditating and interacting with the philosopher Krishnamurti.  According to his theory there is a transcendent reality, which he calls the Implicate Order, beyond the world of matter, which he calls the Explicate order and is a kind of projection of the former.    The Implicate Order is described as an energy field beyond space and time, which actually emerge from it.  Bohm sees the Universe as an unbroken wholeness, a formless energy imbued with Consciousness.  In other words, according to him we are ultimately made of immaterial consciousness and matter is an abstraction – something that we create out of the energy field with acts of consciousness.  The traditional view based on matter, as well as cause and effect, is therefore inadequate. 

Interestingly, Vedic Astrology has always pointed out that astrology regards consciousness – in line with the Vedic belief that the whole Universe is conscious.  This belief is also shared by philosophers in the West where it is called panpsychism.  According to this theory everything is conscious, albeit to different degrees.  However, it is human consciousness that is associated with thinking, deciding, conceptualizing.  Matter in general exhibits a primitive level of consciousness characterized by awareness and responses to the environment.

The words of the language of Consciousness:  the archetypes

So how does James Page believe that astrology works?

He thinks that the basic concepts of panpsychism underpin how astrology actually works. Consciousness pervades everything, everything is connected and there is no need for cause-and-effect mechanisms, which assume that the cause has an effect on something that is separated from the cause. 

Human consciousness has been extensively studied by Carl Jung.  He came up with the concept of the Collective Unconscious of the human race, which includes “definite forms”, archetypes that are universal desires and patterns of behavior from which much of what we think and do derives, such as the urge to love and be loved, fear of death, etc.  The archetypes present themselves in our consciousness as symbolic images and figures, through which they work, such as the Hero and the Villain, The Mother/Father, the wise old man, etc.  They can be considered potential sources of energy that are ready to assume some kind of material form.  Such form can differ considerably from one individual to the next


The astrological birth chart as a symbolic map, a coded diagram of our psyche

According to James Page, the astrological birth chart is a map of our psyche i.e. our consciousness, a coded diagram of our true self.  The astrological factors taken into consideration, such as the signs of the zodiac and the planets, correspond to universal archetypes.  As such, each factor can manifest in many different ways in reality.  In each individual, the factor will find a particular outlet of expression according to the rest of the chart of the person and the environment the individual lives in. The variability in expression makes such factors unsuitable for scientific study.

A practical example is provided.

One could set up a study to investigate the impact of Saturn rising (i.e. on the Ascendant), which is considered to be a inhibiting factor and assess whether persons with this factor have an “inhibited personality”.  However, the truth is that Saturn is an archetype for authority figures who deny things in life and people with Saturn in this position may react in very different ways to the feeling of powerlessness and oppression that it produces.  James Page assesses the life of a number of celebrities with Saturn in this position and shows a broad range of ways in which it manifested in their lives:  rebellion and refusal of any kind of authority in their lives (Keith Richards, Jim Morrison); depression and contemplating suicide (David Carradine, (Siouxsie Sioux); considering an authoritative father as a positive figure to emulate (Margaret Thatcher). 


Synchronicity – the basis of prediction

Carl Jung introduced the concept of synchronicity, the strange phenomenon whereby events occur coincidentally at the same time without one being the cause of the other – at least in the material world.  He pointed out that he had not invented this concept, since classical Chinese texts do not specify what causes what, but rather what likes to occur with what.  He defined it as “the simultaneous occurrence of two significant, but not causally connected events”.

Quantum physics shows that synchronicity really occurs in our world.  Scientists describe the phenomenon of “quantum entanglement” whereby two particles deriving from a single larger one and moving in opposite directions, modify their spin synchronously when they are far away from each other and appear to no longer have any connection whatsoever.

The phenomenon of synchronicity can explain how the transit of a planet, such as Saturn, over a particularly sensitive point of the astrological birth chart, such as the Ascendant, appears to trigger events in the person’s life without a cause-and-effect relationship.