Intrinsic human values – the role of holotropic self-exploration
Pathways to wholeness – the book
Past, present and future
Personal and world transits – practical issues
Law of attraction. What creates our reality?
Book – Table of Contents
September 26, 2014
ADRIAN: Renn, it’s a pleasure to have you back to discuss in more depth the fascinating subjects you are addressing in your thorough and well-written book. PATHWAYS TO WHOLENESS gives its reader endless possibilities to explore.
RENN: Well, thanks very much, I hope people find it helpful and encouraging. It was a long, very demanding project. I had to connect a lot of dots and it had its own timing… the birth of the book had its own timing and now I’m just thrilled that it has finally come out.
ADRIAN: How do you feel today, astrologically speaking?
RENN: Well, it might be interesting for readers to know that we are right now and for about six weeks in a fantastic transit, a grand trine of Mars, Jupiter, and Uranus. This began in the middle of September, around the 15th or so, so it just started, and it will go until around the 25th of October, and I’m really feeling the surge, enthusiasm, and encouragement. It’s just so exciting. I’m feeling a lot of enthusiasm right now for astrology, and two articles have just kind of surfaced.
One I’ve seen before, but never had a chance to read, it’s posted on the Facebook group “Holotropic Breathwork”, an article by Martin Boroson called 12 Things Everyone Should Know About Holotropic Breathwork. It is just a beautifully concise description of Holotropic Breathwork which answers many of the questions people might have about it.
The other one, which Rick sent to me about six months ago, but I was just busy with my book promotions and everything, so I finally had a chance to read it this week, and it’s brilliant, vintage Tarnas. It’s called The Role of Astrology in a Civilization in Crisis and is posted on the AstroDienst website, but I also have it as the first post on the Facebook group “Cosmos and Psyche by Richard Tarnas” and people can go there and read it. I just want to include here a couple of paragraphs from it that really sum up the thesis and the intention of Rick’s great work Cosmos and Psyche.
For this enormous development of our bright modern solar consciousness left out the depths, the lunar mystery, the soul of the cosmos. But the problem of disenchantment is not just psychological, philosophical, or spiritual. It’s pragmatic, and in the most global way. Why is cosmology so important? Because a cosmology is the container for everything that happens within a civilization – all the thinking, the assumptions, the actions, the strategies, the economics and politics, the ecology, the self-image of the human being, one’s role in the larger scheme of things and in every specific situation one finds oneself in. A disenchanted world view empowers the utilitarian mindset, so that efficiency and control, power and profit, become the highest values governing the society.
In such a world, literally nothing is sacred, because the whole has been desacralized: everything can be objectified and commodified, ancient forests nothing but potential lumber, mountains become mining projects, children’s minds marketing targets. Our relation to the universe becomes I-It rather than I-Thou. The need to fill the spiritual hunger of this cosmically isolated consciousness, combined with the imperatives of corporate profit and personal greed, produces a technoconsumerist frenzy that is cannibalizing the planet and threatening to crash the entire Cenozoic Era.
Intrinsic human values – the role of holotropic self-exploration
ADRIAN: Sometimes it seems to me that astrology is the mythical treasure map from those stories one reads as a child, however this time the story and the map are real.
RENN: Yes, I do see archetypal astrology as an important map, it’s a very good metaphor, and, while maps are important, because it’s important to glance at a map beforehand and after-the-fact, or maybe to get some insight on where we are, it is far more important to have our hands on the wheel and to be looking at the road signs and the weather conditions and so on. I don’t think people need astrology to lead a meaningful and happy life, but it’s certainly helpful to have it.
ADRIAN: Your book is really unique in the astrological literature, since almost every astrology book available outlines the possible manifestations and effects of astrological transits in everyday life. You wrote about these, too, but you have also added the possibilities, manifestations, and experiences one might encounter at various point of the inner journey: biographical, perinatal, and transpersonal. What was the final intention of your book?
RENN: Well, I think some people may read a book like Cosmos and Psyche or Prometheus the Awakener and have a direct epiphany and see on a mental level the validity of their arguments and evidence, and realize that these kinds of correlations, these kinds of synchronicities really do suggest very strongly, if not prove, that there is some kind of higher intelligence, an Anima Mundi or World Soul, a Universal Mind, however you want to describe it.
For many of us, however, I think that what is preventing us from having this direct connection with the Macrocosm, with our higher power, with the Divine, the numinous, are various traumas and wounds stored in our unconscious psyches, and it may be necessary to undergo some kind of holotropic self-exploration in order to open or widen the pathway back to the Divine. I use the word holotropic in the most generic way, as non-ordinary state experiences, experiences that can allow the unconscious material to surface, be faced and complete itself.
The Buddhists have a saying: when people remove the arrow of suffering, compassion and connection follow automatically. Grof confirmed this in his clinical research. The generic state of the human being is good and kind – what he refers to as intrinsic human values. The natural state of the human being is to be loving and to feel connected, to care about other people and other life forms, to have a sense of higher meaning, and to realize that there is Intelligence and awareness spread through the entire Universe. It is only our unprocessed traumas, especially the birth trauma, that closes our vision and puts blinders on our perception, so that we’re unable to see those connections, we simply forget them. This is why the spiritual quest is often referred to as “awakening” (for we awake out of “sleep”), or “realization”, “self-realization” (because you realize something that has always been there, but you just couldn’t see it). And I think that a book like Pathways to Wholeness can help and encourage people to undergo the holotropic experiences (whether Holotropic Breathwork sessions, responsible use of psychedelics, or any other “technologies of the sacred”) in order to discover for themselves the meaning and connections in the Universe.
Pathways to wholeness – the book
ADRIAN: Would you describe your book as a kind of do-it-yourself manual? Let’s speak about the topics you addressed in it – Holotropic Astrology and the archetypal manifestations in one’s inner life, for example!
RENN: (Laughing) Well, that’s kind of funny, I would describe it more as how to do it with the support of others, but I know what you mean. I wanted to address some of the major safety issues around holotropic and psychedelic states, so that people approaching them can enter them in the most safe, responsible, and effective way, as Grof says, in order to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks. So, in Chapter 3: Issues in Psychedelic Therapy and Self-Exploration, for example, I address the set and setting, the dosage, quality and purity of psychoactive substances, the level of trust and support and other issues that seekers and journeyers will find useful.
I also talk about the contraindications, some of the medical and psychiatric issues that would make psychedelic or holotropic therapy perhaps unwise: serious heart conditions, very high blood pressure or history of severe clinical conditions such as manic depression. There are a number of other psychiatric concerns, but in principle, people in all those categories could benefit from these therapies if they were done in an inpatient facility where they had 24-hour support. Grof worked with a number of psychotic individuals and even they were eventually able to reach states that were higher functioning than the average person and what is considered normal and healthy, but it took a lot of work and they needed 24-hour supervision in an inpatient facility for the periods between sessions, until they were healed.
One of the chapters that I’m really happy with is Chapter 7: Putting it all Together: Scenarios in Self-Exploration, where I talk about a number of possible scenarios that people might find interesting, where astrology could help them make decisions about the timing of sessions and other related issues like having a spouse or partner as a sitter. Readers may find it useful to know that in general a spouse or a romantic partner is not the best sitter for sessions. There are exceptions of course, some relationships are just so exceptionally trusting and open and loving, but for most people any unacknowledged feelings, or secrets, or past baggage can become magnified a thousand times especially in psychedelic sessions and it’s better to have a neutral spiritual friend as a sitter, or several friends, and then have your partner come in at the end of the session, at a predetermined time for the bonding phase.
I open the book with The Birth of the New Worldview chapter, in which I talk about Grof’s incredible therapeutic breakthroughs in Prague and then, as we mentioned before, the story of archetypal astrology, the Rosetta Stone of the human psyche and consciousness research, and how Richard Tarnas was able to correlate people’s inner experiences with their astrological transits.
In Chapter 6: The Archetypal Pairs I go through all the different planetary pairs – Sun-Moon, Sun-Mercury, Sun-Venus, and so forth, all the way out to Neptune-Pluto, and talk about the range of possible manifestations of those archetypal energies in everyday life as well as their possible manifestations in holotropic self-exploration. Furthermore, as you mentioned, I took the time to include the possible manifestations of, for example, Jupiter-Uranus alignments, which we have right now in the sky, the Jupiter trine Uranus, at the biographical, perinatal, and transpersonal layers of exploration. This represents about 33 years of research in which I collected data and sessions from various people.
ADRIAN: You mentioned the Promethean ecstasy. Are there different types of ecstasies? I’m not referring here to any substance, but to special states of consciousness. Can you elaborate on these?
RENN: Right, we are speaking here of states of consciousness rather than the drug Ecstasy/MDMA. Yes, Grof coined the terms oceanic or Apollonian to describe Neptunian types of ecstasy. This involves a sense of no boundaries, connection, higher meaning, and blissful, ecstatic, serene feelings.
Volcanic ecstasy refers to the kind of driving, aggressive, sometimes sado-masochistic energies, associated with the dynamic stage of birth – people often have images of exploding volcanoes at this point. In these final stages, people can experience a fusion of pain and pleasure and be unable to distinguish between the two. It’s a sort of driving life force which he called volcanic or Dionysian type of ecstasy because it occurs in the context of death and rebirth, of feelings of dying and being reborn.
And then there is a sense of the crown chakra opening and being flooded with an electrifying barrage of insights and understandings and has a kind of a fiery, electrifying quality. Tarnas and Grof called this Promethean ecstasy and it corresponds to major transits of Uranus.
ADRIAN: Apart from these marvellous ecstatic possibilities are there any problematic expressions of these archetypes? Should such situations be addressed with the ‘classical’ model, i.e., allopathic medication, or are there some modern, more appropriate and efficient ways?
RENN: Yes, let’s take the idea of psychic inflation that Jung wrote about. For example, the Christ complex, in which a person might have the sense of special spiritual importance, is strongly connected with the manic phase of manic depression – manic feelings of over-activity and extreme enthusiasm, and restless rushing around from one project to another, a sense of great things and great potentials and so on. This would be a difficult manifestation of the Uranus archetype, but the real solution, Grof found, is to allow the underlying Plutonic energies to complete themselves in sessions, so things could become temporarily more agitated in the session, and it would probably go back to the dynamic stage of birth, where people are in a desperate fight for their lives, suffocation and yet a sense of the light at the end of the tunnel, that they’re about to be born, there’s a sense of the Divine getting closer and closer, and this incredible liberating event that is about to happen, it feels like it has cosmic significance. That’s the natural basis for those types of feelings. It’s not uncommon for people to identify with the death and rebirth of Christ, as well as the death and rebirth of Osiris, Persephone, Dionysus and others when they’re reliving their own death and rebirth as a foetus in the womb, dying to the womb and being born as a human being, as a baby.
So, to simply suppress or try to calm down that type of energy when it manifests is not a suitable solution in the end. People need to be able to face it on the level from which it originates and allow the process and the energies to complete themselves.
ADRIAN: It’s quite unusual to present transits in this order and grouped like you did. Why did you choose this structure?
RENN: Oh yeah, this is interesting, the structuring of this book didn’t just come to me at once, it just kind of presented itself over time. I started out with transits of Neptune. Now, the normal way to do this would logically be Sun-Sun, Sun-Moon, Sun-Mercury, Sun-Venus out to Neptune-Pluto, but I went with the idea that “the medium” is the message. So I wanted to show that all transits of Neptune have many similarities, that they all have fundamental thing in common, “the Neptunian quality or emotion” – so I wanted to put all of them together.
The table of contents should have laid out a bit more clear these distinctions but this is how it ended up. So there are the transits of Sun-Neptune, Moon-Neptune, Mercury-Neptune, Venus-Neptune, Mars-Neptune, Jupiter-Neptune. I wanted to be able to present all the BPM I correlations with Neptune all-in-a-row, in a series like this, so people could get a clear sense of it. Okay, they all have something in common, when people have Neptune transits they are more likely to access these amniotic memories of the womb, of oceanic feelings, identification with outer space and with aquatic animals and so on. And then, on the same pattern, there are the transits of Saturn (Sun-Saturn, Moon-Saturn, Mercury-Saturn, Venus-Saturn, Mars-Saturn, Jupiter-Saturn), then the transits of Pluto (…), and then the transits of Uranus (…). So I am following the Grof-Tarnas sequence of perinatal matrices, which, as we mentioned, are strongly connected with transits of Neptune, Saturn, Pluto and Uranus respectively.
So those were first and then I present what I call the fundamental alignments, these are the six planetary pairs that involve one of the four outer planets, from Saturn to Pluto. These are very powerful alignments. I didn’t put them first because I thought it would be useful for people to really get a lot of explanations about Neptune transits and Saturn transits and so forth, before I introduce these fundamental alignments which involve pairs of these major archetypes: Saturn-Neptune, Saturn-Pluto, Saturn-Uranus, Uranus-Pluto, Neptune-Pluto, Uranus-Neptune.
Then the modifying alignments come afterward. They tend to be less significant as transiting factors and it seemed natural to put them at the end. The most powerful of those would be Mars-Jupiter transits and Rick talked quite a bit about that one to me in the early days at Esalen, and in many other conversations that we had, mainly that Mars-Jupiter is a very desirable energy for holotropic exploration. I mean Jupiter-Jupiter is nice too, many, so many of them are… they’re all good in their own way, but Mars-Jupiter was a special one, because it helps to create a sense of dynamic enthusiasm and courage, a kind of a carrying way that pushes the material out of people’s psyches. And he described it as a kind of magic bullet against the fear and inertia of our egos.
ADRIAN: Since you actually wrote a very practical book, what would be your advice to the reader who wants to start this inner journey of self-discovery?
RENN: (Laughs) Well just on the issue of practicality, readers may find it interesting, I was born with a very close Moon-Saturn conjunction in Capricorn in the Sixth house. It’s maybe the only time I’ll mention houses in this interview, they’re not really a part of archetypal astrology. But I certainly do have that earthy part and also have a Jupiter-Pluto trine, pretty much exact in Virgo and Capricorn, so a lot of Earth.
To answer your question, in the Gestalt sessions that I had the privilege of doing at Esalen Institute the axiom was: ” just start where you are”. Notice what you’re feeling without trying to change it – just be where you are, breathe into it, feel it more deeply and allow it to be there without trying to change it. Grof’s work follows in the tradition of Jung in the sense that it is very optimistic, whereas Freud was pessimistic. Jung and Grof understood and directly experienced that the psyche is self-regulating – the psyche knows how to reach a higher level of consciousness. Grof says that just as the body knows how to get rid of a sliver, the psyche knows how to get rid of traumatic baggage, while opening or widening the pathway to the Divine.
So all we are doing in archetypal astrology and in holotropic exploration is cooperating with a process that is always trying to happen. With each breath we take, we are bringing consciousness and life force into our systems and in self-exploration we are essentially just cooperating with our own Inner Healer. For example, in a Holotropic Breathwork workshop we create a safe environment, we have a preparatory talk, there is medical and psychiatric pre-screening, people introduce themselves, and everyone chooses a partner for the day. One person would then breathe before lunch and one after lunch and they would take turns, one would sit while the other breathes. And of course, we address any concerns they may have, we make sure there’s enough room around them, pillows and it’s done in a soundproof space. We are creating an environment where people can lie down, close their eyes, usually with eyeshades, with loud evocative music and they can really just surrender and sink into their own being and allow whatever is inside to come up. We don’t try to direct the process, we just support whatever is happening, though we have many ways in which we can help complete the process if at the end people are not already resolved. That’s essentially the basic modus operandi of all effective psychotherapy: you create a rapport, a safe trusting relationship and safe environment and then you just let the psyche come forth.
Past, present and future
ADRIAN: How do you envision life sometime in the future, in a world where astrology is common knowledge?
RENN: (Laughs) Well, you know Adrian, I don’t spend that much time speculating on that, because it just seems like we are so far from that point. People really should read The Role of Astrology in a Civilization in Crisis by Rick Tarnas, where he talks about the incredible disjunction between what we all know astrology to be (i.e., a language of the soul, the constant series of synchronicities and evidence for a connection between the Microcosm and the Macrocosm, between Cosmos and Psyche) and compare that to astrology’s status in the modern scientific worldview which, as you said already, is considered “the gold standard of superstition”. For the modern world view, astrology is really considered beneath contempt.
However, one idea would be a cable TV channel devoted to archetypal astrology, kind of a CNN of astrology. There could be ongoing comments on the transits, references to other periods and events that shared those same transits, special interviews etc. – like an ongoing archetypal weather report. I believe that in the future people will spend more time thinking about their emotional, relationship, and spiritual lives and less time obsessing over their portfolios. Astrology is a language of our emotional experience and is a beautifully concise language for talking about it.
By the way, I think the mainstream news programs should also be reporting every week the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. If people spent more time focused on their inner emotional lives, with astrology as a great language for referencing that process, they will spend less time grasping on to material substitutes such as the inordinate pursuit of wealth, status, or prestige, strategies which are ultimately futile and dissatisfying – not to mention pushing the earth’s ecosystems beyond the breaking point.
However, it’s important to keep astrology in perspective. In one of Grof’s recent books – Healing Our Deepest Wounds – he says that even a total paradigm shift in our intellectual viewpoint will not be enough to reverse the suicidal, destructive, and self-destructive tendencies of humanity. What is needed is transformation of individuals on a psychospiritual, emotional level. The most important purpose of astrology, for me, is to encourage people to undergo this inner quest, to explore their psyches.
I think troubled teenagers could benefit greatly from access to holotropic types of self-exploration, for example. Not only Holotropic Breathwork but other similar, careful and responsible techniques, in which young people who are interested could release some of the chaotic energies from of their psyches and have the kind of initiatory experiences that were so fundamental in many of the non-Western and preindustrial societies. Many teenagers are drawn to dangerous situations – they seem to create their own rites of passage through risk-taking, through fast driving and now we’ve got this problem of young people leaving the West and joining terrorist groups. They’re drawn to these kind of high pressurized, dangerous, aggressive situations that have a religious or pseudo-religious idealism, and I think that, at some point in the future when young people have access to genuine non-ordinary state experiences again, many of those same energies that are being acted out now in an aggressive way could be worked through and released from the psyche in more helpful ways.
ADRIAN: What is the most interesting synchronicity that happened to you?
RENN: (Laughs) I would have to take some time to think about that, can we come back to this question?
ADRIAN: What’s your idea about the future of holotropic research?
RENN: Well, I think that Holotropic Breathwork is now available on every continent, in many countries of the world and most likely is going to keep growing and spreading. But there will be other techniques, holotropic in nature, which share the same basic elements that will also be good, and I think that are always valuable for people to try.
Anyone who is depressed for example, or has a strong physical symptom that has not been shown to have a medical basis, such as headaches or feelings of nausea, or pressures and pains in various parts of the body, should consider trying a Holotropic Breathwork session at least once and see if he or she resonates with, to see if perhaps he or she gets some relief from the symptoms, before going for antidepressants or other medical interventions.
As far as psychedelics, there is such a wide range of sets and settings that people can approach with these substances. Probably the ideal would be healthcare funded centres, run by professional psychologists and nurses and psychiatrists, who have done their own inner work, places where people that need to can come in and book a session and do the pre-interview and be supported in a responsible way and have some sort of aftercare and so on. That would be the ideal situation. Below that there is a full range of levels of safety, right down to the least safe which would be young people popping high doses of psychedelics in situations where they’re surrounded by strangers, or not necessarily the most trustworthy company.
You know, I thought of a synchronicity. This is not the most amazing synchronicity I’ve experienced but it just gives an example of how they work. I had been been working on a number of writing projects for basically 21 years at the time Pathways to Wholeness was published. This book is only about one quarter of the total work that I put into all these different writing projects. So I’ve been busy as well as working afternoon shifts four days a week at a group home with physically, mentally and emotionally challenged adults. So for the last 20 years I have essentially been able to go swimming at one of the beautiful lakes around Victoria, an average of about twice a year, some years two or three times and some years not at all. And then last week my transits were transiting Jupiter trine my natal Venus and transiting Venus trine my natal Jupiter, so I had Venus-Jupiter both ways. And it just fit into place that I was able to go swimming at this most paradisean, beautiful spot at Upper Thetis Lake three times in one week on my days off, with three different friends. I had a great time, like being on an exotic holiday. Now this week that I’ve got Mercury square my natal Saturn it’s like I’m just kind of back to the grindstone and it almost feels impossible to get out there logistically, and so that’s just what you’d expect with transits like that.
I mean I wasn’t thinking about those transits when I had all those opportunities to go swimming and lying around, it just happened. When things like that occur, you look at the transits and think… you know, if I had those archetypes activated for my whole life, if I had a highly aspected Venus-Jupiter without Saturn involved, my whole life would be more like a holiday, which for some people, not many, it is.
It’s very interesting to reflect on these kinds of synchronicities. They are so common that, when Venus is highly aspected by transit, I ride my bike down into the heart of James Bay where I live and I`ll just run into a friend, just by coincidence, we’ll sit down and have a chat or go for a walk. These transits are what’s called in chaos theory “strange attractors”, they seem to draw towards one events that fit their thematic character. Additionally, at the same time you selectively perceive things based on your transits. Objectively the outer world can be the same, but when Mars is activated you will see the more martial and conflictual qualities in the world or when Jupiter is activated, the more expansive and benefic themes.
Personal and world transits – practical issues
ADRIAN: Many astrologers have a “when it’s done, it’s gone” understanding of a transit, the on-off switch model. Rick Tarnas says transits are to be seen more like an initiation, once you entered the space that opens with the transit, you can enter that door many times afterwards. Is that so?
RENN: (Laughs) Yes, every transit leaves a kind of permanent mark, it opens something up which hopefully will stay open. But there’s no question that at certain points, when Pluto squares your natal Saturn, you tend to feel more a sense of urgency about work and practical matters and when Jupiter is in opposition with your Venus you feel like taking it easy and sitting back and enjoying yourself.
The thing is that the Saturn transits not only create the need for more work, but they also create the desire to take on more work. Every transit creates both a necessity and also the motivation to deal with that transit. So when Saturn is active you feel more serious, it’s more important for you to take care of business and practical matters.
ADRIAN: What’s the source of your astrological knowledge you are using in your readings? How can someone work with different transits? Can you give some specific advice?
RENN: Well, it is certainly based on my own experience, you really have to live through these cycles to get a sense of what they are, what their positive sides and possible shadow sides are, and thus, after a few years or better yet decades, you can really offer helpful support to people.
With Neptune-Jupiter transits for example, such as transiting Neptune forming alignments with natal Jupiter, there is a great potential for over-optimism, of seeing connections in the world, and the imagination just runs with that and you can see how this positive idea in your mind is going to lead to spinoff benefits that will benefit hundreds or even thousands of people. It can lead to a kind of franchise-expansion mentality. Of course the positive side of Jupiter-Neptune transits include a feeling of the spiritual cup running over, with rich feelings of generosity, faith, optimism, connection, higher meaning and so on. You just don’t want to invest or borrow a lot of money based on those positive feelings, without first getting cold, sober advice from people who do not have the same transit. However, Jupiter-Neptune transits are fantastic for inner awakening, healing, and exploration.
With any Jupiter transit, it’s very helpful when, as an astrologer, you can tell people that this is a time of possible expansion, of higher integration in your life, of connecting, but it won’t last forever and there is a chance that you could overdo it, so be careful about borrowing money on faith or speculation, get a sober second or third opinion.
With heavy Saturn transits, it can be very helpful for people to know that again there’s a time limit, this is difficult, there is suffering, but it won’t last forever and what you’re going through is exactly what people might expect to go through under these transits. Everyone goes through them sooner or later, we all go through them and this can be very validating and encouraging for people to hear. And with Saturn transits, as well as taking care of practical responsibilities and pruning and editing unnecessary elements in our lives and being careful, it can be very helpful to spend some time every day to lie down for half an hour or more, with limbs uncrossed, which is the most open position, maybe put on some music or not, and just surrender into the feeling, let it register, let yourself suffer, feel it deeply, feel the gravity and the weight, let the Divine or the gods see that you are hurting and let yourself be humbled, let yourself feel weak, let yourself be pressed down – and miraculous things can happen. When you allow these feelings, you’re giving openings for the Neptune and Uranus archetypes to come in and bring you through to the other side, for the Divine hand to catch you. You have to be willing to fall through the cracks with Saturn, in order to fall into the hand of that Universal Protector or Protectress archetype. So this can be very encouraging for people.
When Mars is activated, we’re more likely to experience not only energy and desire to take action and assert ourselves, but also conflicts with people, maybe being too aggressive or too pushy, or sometimes we attract those toward us, but the best solution is usually to unilaterally withdraw from these conflicts and work through our own aggression and aggressive feelings, to yell into pillows or yell in a parked car when it’s safe to do so. There are very specific ways with different Mars transits that people can help to express these energies out of their systems. And so on.
ADRIAN: What about the so-called world transits? Can you give some suggestions about how to “participate” in these big-scale events?
RENN: I think these world transits are to the collective psyche what individual transits are to our individual psyches. During Saturn-Pluto alignments in the sky, which we’ll be moving into in a couple years, a Saturn-Pluto conjunction, this tend to be a bit more of a conservative time, when people may feel like the rate of evolution or progress seems to be taking one step backward, more of a time of consolidation, of getting real, getting more serious, to lay the groundwork for the next evolutionary wave. And not to be so concerned about it, but to simply allow that to happen.
And then, on the other hand, in a Uranus-Pluto period, such as the larger trend that were in now from about 2007 until 2020, this is a time of rapid change and rapid evolution and drive toward freedom in the human psyche and to appreciate and enjoy the energies, try to do as much inner healing as possible.
Whatever causes we are involved in the outer world, our equal priority should still always be, I think, to keep working on ourselves. They’re not mutually exclusive. Inner work can help us avoid projecting our own material out into the world. We can be more effective, calm and persuasive in our efforts in the outer world, such as environmentalists for example, when we’re not filled with anger or we’re not acting out our eccentricity. And during a Uranus-Pluto period it would also be helpful for people to realize that there is a fanatical, shadow side to these archetypes, and to not get too carried away in the outer world. If you have these kind of fanatical feelings, these are essentially perinatal feelings, and what we need to do is complete the death-rebirth process in our own private sessions or in Holotropic Breathwork sessions, and reach a more integrated level of functioning and then we have a better view of what we can actually do and how we can actually make a contribution in the world, without just adding to the problem. You know, every fanatic thinks they’re improving the situation, they feel that there’s an urgent thing that has to be done, that has to be changed, but usually they just end up making things worse and you can see certainly what`s going on in the Middle East right now, there’s a lot of Uranus-Pluto energy being acted out in a very brutal way.
ADRIAN: Is there any real possibility to deal with such “dark-side” manifestations of world transits? What can we do to sort of “solve” situations like this?
RENN: How can we solve such situations? Well, I think what’s really happening is that a new ethic of self-exploration is being born, which is that it is a responsible thing to do our own inner work. It’s not only beneficial to us to heal our physical, emotional and relationship issues, but it also helps society at large, people become more naturally conscious of the environment and the effects of their actions on the larger ecosystem. They develop a natural feeling of planetary citizenship, a desire to live in a more peaceful and harmonious and sustainable way, to have meaningful work. This doesn’t mean that they just become mushy and sort of totally limp and accept everything. People develop more critical minds, they can tell the difference between quality and substitutes and they want quality things, they want loving relationships, they want satisfying friendships, they want to live more time with their families, in nature and feel good about their work.
When people experience rebirth elements in their process, their inner lives, they develop critical attitudes toward the abuse of power – they don’t appreciate being manipulated, or watching people destroy ecosystems for their own selfish gain. But they would look for peaceful ways to solve the overall problem behind those actions. I think that, as these kinds of processes and techniques spread, that there will be some point, some kind of a tipping point – we’re not there yet by any means – where enough of our shadow material is being worked through internally and we’ll get ahead of the wave of catastrophic events that are compounding and escalating all around us now, such as climate change and global warming and the foolish competition over Arctic minerals and oil. By the way, I think relations between the West and Russia would be dramatically improved if the Arctic was declared a non-mining and drilling sanctuary, just as the Antarctic has been for decades.
ADRIAN: I often face questions like this: if I take time to approach astrology, are there any other real benefits beyond the purely intellectual exercise? What people want to know is essentially how can a modern man reconcile the scientific attitude towards life he has gained from his Western education with the astrological/spiritual perspective? Can you give some suggestions?
RENN: Astrology is a perfect way to observe synchronicities and correlations between the macrocosm and the microcosm, to regain the sense that there is a higher Universal Intelligence and also to encourage people to face their own deeper emotional contents, as they are activated by their ongoing transits.
As Rick Tarnas points out over and over in his writing, astrology is archetypally predictive not concretely predictive. We can’t use astrology to make specific decisions, like when to sell our stocks or when to buy a house… It could be generally helpful in an emotional way, but it is not so helpful for trying to manipulate the future. Or to avoid danger and suffering…
I think it was Glenn Perry who said many years ago in an article that traditional astrology was about trying to predict events; in archetypal astrology we’re trying to understand the meaning behind events: what is the psychological material which is causing this event or making us react in a certain way to events. Archetypal astrology is ultimately a tool for personal growth and deeper understanding and opening.
A fun way to learn astrology would be to plot your Moon transits for a whole month and then just write in your diary little things that you noticed, like I saw a woman wearing really bright zany clothes under a Venus-Uranus transit for example, but you can do it on a more sort of hour by hour way with Moon transits. Or just notice all your transits for the day and just keep little notes of things you notice. I mean people can write endless books on astrological synchronicities, it’s endlessly fascinating. Or about things you notice in the news.
And then of course, when you’re entering holotropic or psychedelic states, the synchronicities become hundreds of times more powerful, you get a much more condensed and distilled version of the archetypal energies. It’s a shame that these aren’t more readily available to people. Not only for people with serious emotional and physical problems. Grof points out that in his experience, the most effective therapeutic possibilities are available to intelligent, well-established individuals whose lives are boring and becoming routine, so for people that are already having pretty good lives, who get satisfaction from their lives in various areas, but who feel that there’s something more they could experience… For them life just doesn’t have the zing, the excitement and enthusiasm and these kind of inner explorations can be just fantastic, adding much more depth. I mean you can have experiences from the lives of our Cro-Magnon ancestors, you can relive formative experiences that happened throughout our human or even animal past. Transpersonal experiences are endless.
It’s a fascinating exploration and I think that there’s kind of a movement in television that began 15 years ago or something like that, with “The Survivor” series, “Reality TV”, where people crave emotional experience, they want to have different kinds of strong emotional charges and experiences. And they don’t want to it to be totally predictable. Psychedelic and holotropic states are the ultimate “Reality TV”. This is the ultimate movie. Here you are truly exploring the final frontier. I’m a huge “Star Trek” fan, I absolutely adore it but the physical universe is not the ultimate exploration, the ultimate exploration is in the human psyche, and many of those “Star Trek” episodes can be interpreted as inner journeys, as there are psychedelic experiences that really resemble some of the best episodes from “Star Trek”. It’s endlessly fascinating and not just entertainment, far from it, because holotropic experiences can be so emotional and there are elements of suffering at many points in the journey, as well as deeply ecstatic moments. In addition, you have a feeling that you’re helping, you’re not only helping your own life, but you’re maybe helping to create harmony between different racial groups or work through karma from a war that happened 300 years ago.
I remember an episode with one of my best friends. He is of Dutch ancestry and I have some English ancestry, and there were some elements of competition and conflict underlying our friendship at a certain point. I had a session where suddenly I felt that I was back in the 17th century, reliving the intense marine rivalry between the Dutch and the English and it felt that my conflicts with my friend were somehow directly related to these unresolved issues from the collective psyche. And that really did help our friendship. A lot of the problems just went away, disappeared.
So, I think that, as Grof puts it, we can be responsible in the world, be reliable employees, pay our taxes, be good citizens, good mates and parents and participate in our communities, as well as periodically entering into holotropic, moving toward wholeness states, where we can get access deep meaning and context in our lives – we can have positively lives on both the outer and inner levels. And I think in order to be a truly healthy human being, we have to become comfortable in both worlds. And this is an ideal that is not new, this goes back tens of thousands of years. Shamanism is at least 30,000 years old. And we’re the first civilization, our modern industrial civilization, that is attempting to live on a kind of concrete we have paved over our psyches. We’re trying to live on the day-world half of existence, the solar side of life and we have lost the night soul, the lunar, the feeling of connection and mystery. So it’s just a question of reintegrating those elements that we left behind in our very rapid technological advance. We can have the best of science and technology, while reintegrating what we our civilization left behind.
ADRIAN: What transits do you consider to be the most “difficult”? And how can one address the specific issues of such a transit with this holotropic approach?
RENN: Well, I’d say that Saturn transits can be the most painful but Pluto transits can cause the most damage, in the lives of people with no opportunities to process their psyches. The basic trajectory of Pluto transits involves a descent into the underworld, i.e., the unconscious, and confrontation with powerful inner material, then powerful catharsis and rebirth out the other side. But when Pluto transits begin – they last about five years – people often feel like the energies are coming through the back door. The emotions and energies associated with Pluto feel to the ego like the last thing that would be helpful.
Our solar egos are basically on a kind of linear path of progress. Pluto transits can feel like they’re coming from left field, or from behind or below us, and it just feels like that is not the direction we want to go. And yet the rift in our psyches seems to open wider and we feel like we’re being pushed somewhere we don’t want to go. And often times people or circumstances seem to constellate around us, that seem to put pressure on us, to face some of the deeper energies and emotions. However, once people have opportunities to process, to turn toward the inner energies and really express them in safe contexts, Pluto transits become a powerful cleansing and purging force in our lives.
It’s very helpful to know this, as well as to know that a Pluto transit is not going to end right away. There are no other transits under which it can be more helpful to do Holotropic Breathwork or similar types of releasing sessions. Find someone who is doing breathwork and give it a try a couple of times, and see if it helps. There is a finite amount of repressed energies in the psyche at the individual level. So every time we give these emotions and energies an outlet, we’re releasing some pressure, some of this finite pool of inner material.
People in breathwork sessions with a strong Pluto transit can experience powerful catharsis of energies related to their birth process, for example. This could include pressure in the head, feelings of suffocation or nausea, profuse sweating, complex twisting movements that closely resemble the infant’s positions during labour, twitches and tremors, explosive aggressive discharges and so on. All of these are much more common and intense in a high-dose LSD session, of course. But they can also occur in breathwork sessions, though usually in a milder way. As facilitators, we just support the process as the material comes out. It is totally natural and normal, just let it out, these energies are better out than in. The attempts to repress these kinds of driving inner energies are always less than successful and cause many problems in people’s lives and in the world until they’re faced and released.
ADRIAN: Why do you consider transits being operative for such large time periods as you just mentioned?
RENN: You’re referring to a technical detail in archetypal astrology regarding some of the timings I just mentioned, like Pluto transits lasting five years and so on. Tarnas convincingly makes the case that we have to expand the orbs, the allowable operative range on transits, if we want to account for the data from the observations from history, in different world events, and in famous people’s lives.
A personal transit starts when the transiting planet first comes within 5° applying, that is approaching the exact transit to the natal position. And it will continue, though of course it gets stronger when it’s within 3° and up to exact. But that transit continues until it is 5° past, 5° separating for the last time. Even if it goes beyond that position but it’s coming back, you’re still in that waveform until around 5° separating. You will first start to feel it around 5° and then it’s especially strong within 3° on both sides of exact. Many people miss so much because they’re only looking at the exact transit. Pluto is conjunct your natal Uranus today and then tomorrow you have some different forecast (laughs). That really is like shining a mini flashlight when really you need to look at the entire field around you. A transit like that lasts for at least five years.
There are some exceptions. Mars transits seem to come into orb a bit earlier, maybe 8° for the hard aspects (conjunctions, squares and oppositions) and they seem to be over a bit sooner after Mars transits get to exact, after which they seem to lose some of their power which fits, as Tarnas says, Mars’ archetypal nature, i.e., to jump ahead. Saturn transits can sometimes delay their most powerful effects, correlations, and synchronicities until near the end of the transit. This also fits Saturn’s nature, i.e., to delay things.
We recognize even wider orbs on transits of an outer planet to itself, especially Saturn to Saturn, in which we can see around a 15° orb for the conjunction and probably 10 to 12° for the squares and oppositions so really something like the first Saturn return is a two-year transit starting at about 28 ½ to 30 ½ or even 31. And with this slight modification astrology makes a lot more sense. It accounts for a lot more of the data and observations from people’s lives and from history.
We just talked about the Saturn to Saturn, but for all the outer planets I would use around 10 to 12° orbs as well. Uranus to Uranus opposition is such a major moment in a person’s life. If we look at someone’s life carefully and what they’re feeling and what they’re doing, this wider orb makes a lot more sense. When we integrate this modification, then a lot of the other symbolic layers suddenly become less important. It’s less important what signs and houses the planets are in. And things like intercepted signs and rulerships and so on, become even less important when faced with the powerful blared-out meanings of the transits and aspects themselves.
I think astrologers were always looking to fill in the gaps, to explain things, and when you realize that this Pluto square Pluto is still going on – it didn’t end the day Pluto went past exact in its square to natal Pluto and it’s still happening for another two and half years, that can account for a lot of the Plutonic experiences that people may be having in their lives. You don’t have to look any further to explain why things are intense. The important thing is that astrologers themselves are doing their own inner work. Then they are in a better position to offer suggestions for dealing with the energies.
ADRIAN: I would say this is the right context to ask why did you choose to include in your book all the transits, even the minor ones which last for days only?
RENN: Well, I don’t know, I did it in my Mercury-Jupiter way. I have Mercury square Jupiter, very close in my natal chart. I just wanted to do a comprehensive job, I wanted to include everything and know I won’t have to do it again. I have lots of other books in various stages of completion, but for the first one I just wanted to do the full Monty (laughs). Some of these shorter transits are more useful than others, I mean it is obviously far more important to know that you have Pluto trine Uranus – what an incredible evolutionary and breakthrough potential that signifies! – versus Moon trine Mercury, which is a very passing, short-term and not particularly influential transit. But if you’re looking for it, if you know what to look for, it will always register.
I just thought it would be useful for people who are interested in exploring the full range of archetypal influences, to include all of them. And luckily I had the material, I was amazed to find that in all the sessions that I had collected from various sources over the decades, I had just the right number, at least one good session for almost every chapter. One juicy interesting session report of someone in a holotropic breathwork session, psilocybin mushroom, or ayahuasca session etc. And that was quite amazing to me. It gave me a feeling somehow that there was some sort of Universal Mind helping me with the research. (laughs) Of course I had to cut a lot of material. I have many other good session reports which will come out in other books.
ADRIAN: The core of your book is your descriptions of the manifestations of the archetypal pairs. When did you start to write about them and how did you pick the idea? And what’s the source of your delineations?
RENN: Well, I actually wrote the prototype of my descriptions of the major ten archetypes (Sun through Pluto) while I was living at Pocket Ranch in Geyserville California, which was a spiritual-emergency centre, during the spring of 1990. Funny, I just had a dream last night that I was back, isn’t that amazing? Pocket Ranch probably comes up every five years in a conversation, or maybe every ten years. There’s a synchronicity for you. I dreamed that I was back at Pocket Ranch and I when I woke up I could actually smell the fragrance of that beautiful place in Sonoma County, CA.
So I wrote the prototype back then and then I worked on it again in 2000, and then put a lot more work into it in the last five years. I wrote the chapters mainly from my own experience but I was of course deeply influenced by my many conversations with Tarnas. He has been by far the most inspirational mentor for me – he is not only on fire intellectually, but is a deeply generous and kind-hearted man, with the soul of a Greek poet. The writings of Robert Hand including Planets in Transit, Sakoian and Acker’s The Astrologer’s Handbook, and Reinhold Ebertin’s The Combination of Stellar Influences have also had a big effect on my understanding, as well as the work of Liz Greene, Caroline Casey, Stephen Arroyo, Karen Hamaker-Zondag, and many others.
Back to Robert Hand. I was able to participate in a weekend workshop with him at Esalen Institute and really loved him, I admired him so much. He was playful and enthusiastic, and had a twinkle in his eye. He really loved astrology, and was very innovative and experimental. He was a true scientist, willing to question everything. He didn’t believe that we should just accept the astrological traditions that were passed down to us, but that some of the symbol systems stand up to modern investigation better than others and he was willing to look at everything on its own merits. I really admire that.
“Law of attraction” – What creates our reality?
ADRIAN: What would you recommend to someone eager to know more about archetypal astrology? What else do you generally recommend for somebody who feels close to this spiritual perspective?
RENN: Well, I would recommend that people read Tarnas’ Prometheus the Awakener and if you are ready for a serious intellectual adventure, Cosmos and Psyche. There are also great articles in the Archai journal. If you are interested in the archetypal combinations and how they manifest in everyday life and in deep self-exploration, I would recommend my Pathways to Wholeness.
There are a number of great podcasts and articles online by scholars such as Matthew Stelzner, Jessica Garfield-Kabbara, Keiron Le Grice, Chad Harris, Becca Tarnas, James Moran, Delia Shargel, Erica Jones, Josh Witmer, Grant Maxwell, Bill Streett, and many others. Kyle Leimetter, another student of Tarnas, has just created a great transit program called Archetypal Explorer which I would recommend, with text by Tarnas. Keiron Le Grice’s book The Archetypal Cosmos is also a great overview of issues in the emerging field.
Most importantly, when your life seems to give you a little surplus of courage, resources, or curiosity, set aside some time for self-exploration. When I was in my twenties the Uranus-to-Uranus opposition of the midlife appeared as “wow, you’re already pretty old by that point!” That’s how it looked to me (laughing), but now that I’m 54 I can report that I have had so many great opportunities for deep self-exploration since the Uranus-Uranus opposition of my late thirties and early forties. In a way this transit is just the beginning of the creative period. Plato wrote in The Republic that people under 40 shouldn’t engage in philosophy – rather they should be focused on the external world. I don’t personally agree with that, but you know the Indians see things in sort of the same way. In the Hindu tradition you’re a householder until a certain age and then you become a sannyasin – you pursue a spiritual path.
But why wait…why not start whenever you get the urge? If you are experiencing the Uranus-Uranus transit of the late 30s and early 40s, for example, you’re still so young, you have a lot of opportunities now to work on the software in your psyche. These patterns are not set in stone, they can be transformed, so take this fantastic opportunity of the double activated Uranus – what Tarnas calls the full moon of the Prometheus archetype – to enter into holotropic states in a safe setting and let the inner healer do its work. There are supportive transits for deep self-exploration at all times in people’s lives.
ADRIAN: A piece of advice for any human being living today?
RENN: Yes, not all our problems can be solved on the external level. We can try to solve them with a change in diet or with a relationship change, etc. but if the problem is coming from the unconscious then that’s the level where we need to turn to get effective relief. See what’s in there, turn inward. This is what has been said all along by the mystics – “Know thyself” – as Socrates put it. There are all kind of things that people in the new age pursue, however with a huge focus on diet, positive thinking and so on, and if those work then great, but people tend to forget the huge effect that buried traumas have on us.
Many people believe that what we think about creates our reality. I see that a bit differently: I think it’s the things we are completely unconscious of, that are creating our reality the most. The things we aren’t thinking about, those are the ones that are actually driving our lives, manifesting in the emotionality, the irrational decisions we make, the self-defeating behaviour, some of the synchronicities that we seem to attract toward us. I believe that is where the opening is awaiting both for individuals and for our civilization.
ADRIAN: Is there anything else you want to mention?
RENN: Yes, I’m finishing a new book called The Combination of Archetypal Influences which should be out in the summer of 2016. It’s a handbook-style reference book of archetypal astrology for people at every level of knowledge.
ADRIAN: Renn, thank you for your time and I am really grateful to you for sharing with us so much of your knowledge and experience.
RENN: Thank you, Adrian, very much. It has been an honour. I believe this is my first interview, so thanks again for the opportunity. Have a great summer.
First part of this interview: Honoring the Elders
Third part of this interview: Archetypes and archetypal astrology
The author has performed a great service for that special category of readers who are seriously involved in the exploration of consciousness, and who have become convinced that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in the conventional philosophies of the modern world view and mainstream psychology.
The book is based on research that has been taught and studied during the past thirty years in graduate school seminars and public lectures. This is the first book to set forth the basic outline of that research for a larger public. The writing is clear and accessible. The spirit of the book is modest and compassionate. The resulting work is an invaluable guide for all those courageous individuals and therapists who are engaged in exploring the unfolding mystery of the psyche and its relationship with the greater cosmos.
Richard Tarnas Ph.D, professor of psychology and cultural history, California Institute of Integral Studies, author of The Passion of the Western Mind, Prometheus the Awakener, and Cosmos and Psyche
An extraordinary book that represents an important contribution both to astrology and to transpersonal psychology. I believe that responsible work with psychedelics and other holotropic states combined with archetypal astrology is the future of psychiatry, psychology, and psychotherapy.
Stanislav Grof Author of Realms of the Human Unconscious, The Adventure of Self-Discovery, Psychology of the Future, and as co-author, Holotropic Breathwork
Renn’s book is really terrific. It’s deep. It’s intelligent. It’s got big words when you need big words and avoids them when you don’t. I like that! He takes a lot of the macroscopic and metapolitical view of astrology that Richard Tarnas has embodied so well and applies it effectively, kindly and helpfully at the individual level. This is an important piece of work in the emerging paradigm of modern archetypal astrological counseling. I recommend it!
Steven Forrest Author of Yesterday’s Sky, The Inner Sky, The Changing Sky
After many years of careful research, practice, and offering workshops for others, Renn Butler has delivered a very important book about the core of the journey of self-exploration and self realization in the context of holotropic states of consciousness. We are not just the sum of our personal biographic experiences – we are unique expressions of the play of universal archetypes that work through us and with us. Want to understand yourself better? Then get this book.
Within the field of transpersonal psychology, there is nothing that attempts to map out experiences in non-ordinary states of consciousness in quite this much detail. In an area where there are few maps anyway, this book is a guide to otherwise unknown territory. Using archetypal astrology as a theoretical framework, it systematically identifies and describes a full range of inner experiences, with practical advice about navigating, supporting and integrating them.
In an ideal parallel world where the history of psychology turned left instead of right, this book and others like it could easily find a home on the shelves of psychiatrists, crisis centres and hospices. It is a reminder that there are so many more ways of interpreting and making sense of human experience, and that our own lives can always be a little richer for being willing to take a leap of the intellect and the heart.
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.
Table of Contents
PATHWAYS TO WHOLENESS
ARCHETYPAL ASTROLOGY AND THE TRANSPERSONAL JOURNEY
Chapter 1: The Birth of a New World View
Breakthrough in Europe
An unexpected Rosetta Stone
Chapter 2: Transpersonal psychology and archetypal astrology:
the research of Stanislav Grof and Richard Tarnas
Stanislav Grof’s expanded cartography of the human psyche
The Perinatal Matrices
Richard Tarnas’ Archetypal Astrology
Tarnas’ correlations with the perinatal sequence
Several further distinctions
Chapter 3: Issues in psychedelic therapy and self-exploration
Non-specific amplifiers of mental processes
The level of trust and support
Set and setting
The dosage, quality, and purity of psychoactive substances
Medical and psychiatric contraindications for holotropic states
Chapter 4: The Astrological Archetypes
Chapter 5: The transit cycles of Neptune-Neptune, Saturn-Saturn, Pluto-Pluto, and Uranus-Uranus
Transits of Neptune-Neptune
Transits of Saturn-Saturn
Transits of Pluto-Pluto
Transits of Uranus-Uranus
Chapter 6: The Archetypal pairs
Transits of Neptune
Transits of Saturn
Transits of Pluto
Transits of Uranus
The Fundamental Alignments
The Modifying Alignments
Chapter 7: Putting it all together: scenarios in self-exploration
1. A grieving elderly lady needs emotional comfort and relief
2. An organizer of intentional dance events wants to add an increased level of safety for his participants
3. Three spiritual friends support each other in healing sessions with psilocybin mushrooms
4. A member of the clergy seeks a direct experience of the numinous principle
5. A team of therapists conducting psychedelic sessions in a healthcare-funded program consults the transits of their patients
6. A breathwork practitioner looks at the world transits before scheduling a workshop
7. A married couple considers sitting for each other in internalized psychedelic sessions
8. A graduate student organizes a psychedelic healing session for himself
9. A military veteran suffering from PTSD begins a course of MDMA psychotherapy
10. A young meditator experiences Kundalini and spiritual emergency
11. A young woman diagnosed with bipolar disorder wants to stop taking lithium
Bibliography and Suggested Reading