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.