The fault (wrote William Shakespeare in 1599) lies not in our stars but in ourselves. Renn Butler is a little more daring in his book when he explains that our “stars” are actually in our psyches. They are our selves. Primitive patterns, deep within our unconscious minds, which are mysteriously resonant with the evocative mythic imagery which our archaic ancestors linked to the vast cycles of planets in our nearby solar system — Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and the rest. This is an undeniably exciting possibility for study.

Mr. Butler’s book PATHWAYS TO WHOLENESS presents an informed and engaging investigation that asks us to put aside our obsession with direct causality and delve unabashedly into the juicy domain of meaningful coincidences. Looking through this lens, we discover consistent synchronicities between the behaviour of vibrating celestial objects and our most vulnerable states of mind. In infancy, dreams & psychedelic explorations we are like ancient seafaring explorers tossed about in a chaotic ocean. We would be wise to make use of heavenly objects to help us navigate through our life-struggles and reach the promised shores of satisfying personal transformation. Better maps make better journeys.

The author offers us not only his rich lifetime of experience and expertise as a Holotropic Breathwork facillitator but also the benefit of his personal association with such luminous thought leaders as Stanislav Grof & Richard Tarnas. Taken in conjunction these two men have opened up a fascinating new field of psychological study that Mr. Butler calls: holotropic astrology.

This new genre of self-exploration makes use of Grof’s famous holotropic and psychedelic methods which are designed to put people in contact with lingering psychological traces of the various phases of their birth process and from even deeper transpersonal realms. And it adds to these methods the laudable work that Tarnas has made to popularize a more integrative form of astrology — one that moves beyond the silliness of newspaper horoscopes into the far more robust territory of Jungian archetypes and the transits of planets.

Archetypal astrology. Psychedelic therapy. Psychological death and rebirth. Famous cultural figures. Pathways to Wholeness is loaded up with provocative elements and stars of all kinds. One of my favorite features is the astrological data provided for quotable sources (e.g. Buckminster Fuller > Neptune conjunct Pluto 4° 39′). Very intriguing stuff. Another nice feature is the presence of personalized case studies showing how holotropic astrology operates in people’s real lives. This book will surely make an excellent reference for those already familiar with these topics and provide an illuminating introduction for those who are not.

Our souls, we might say, wait in the future for us to reclaim the forgotten potencies that overwhelmed us in the past. Until we integrate these residual complexes within ourselves they will continue to exert strange influences upon our world. Many personal and collective human difficulties might simply be the unintentional and ongoing replay of these primal patterns. And if that is true then we may be forgiven for speculating that the very fate of the world, in some sense, hinges upon the sort of emerging insights which underlie Pathways to Wholeness.

Thanks, I’ve been: Layman Pascal.