Our in-house astrologer Phoebe reviews Sudhir’s book. “A spicy new take on the ancient art of stargazing,” she says, “I can warmly recommend…”
For Those Who Won’t Admit They’re Interested
Illustrations by Jinesh Wilmont
Nothing coming from the mind should be taken seriously – not even astrology! This is a realization that came to me last January, when I instinctively chose the cartoon-character set of zodiac symbols for the Osho News horoscope column rather than more conventional images. What was happening? For many decades I’d seen my vocation to spread a wider appreciation of astrology as terribly important work, and been deadly serious about it. Now I was lightening up. But perhaps there’s no contradiction here after all; perhaps astrology can be both seriously life-transforming and fun!
The first impression a reader gets of Sudhir’s book is from Jinesh Wilmont’s illustrations that tug the sacred art of astrology provocatively down from its high altar. He caricatures each zodiac type, adding saucy details that make them more human and more fun. They set the tone for Sudhir’s prose descriptions, in the first half of the book, of the twelve signs and their psychological patterns, which turn out to be less provocative and more conventional. However, they are written to suit the needs of the readership he has in mind – people venturing warily into testing astrology’s confusing waters.
In twelve thumbnail sketches Sudhir goes beyond a conventional listing of acknowledged personality traits. They give us an impression of what it feels like on the inside to live with our sun in our particular sign. For example he writes that a Libra is like a pair of scales with a sheep on one side and a wolf on the other. Librans try to hide their wolf in the basement and replace him with a second sheep, which always fails of course. The trouble is that a repressed wolf is an angry wolf, one who’s apt to suddenly leap out of his hiding place with ‘a spectacular display of impropriety’.
Sudhir then goes on to point out the Libran life-lesson, which is to marry the mildness of the sheep with the ‘blast of rawness and power’ of the wolf. As explained in the introduction, he has learnt from Liz Greene’s psychological astrology with its mythological approach, but also from two spiritual masters – Gurdjieff and Osho. These influenced the way he understands the collective unconscious, and led him to see astrology as a tool for the growth of consciousness. I agree. We both value Osho recommending astrology as a way of becoming more aware of our robot ego patterns, and useful as a tool for self-understanding (see my article on Osho and Astrology that appeared last January).
In our work as astrologers we both use astrology to pinpoint the specific life challenges indicated in our charts –what we have to struggle with in order to wake up as Sudhir puts it. Thus, in the first part of his book, attention is drawn to the typical traps presented by each of the twelve zodiac signs, and also the typical strengths that each has been armed with to master our set of challenges.
The second part of the book consists of an interview with Sudhir conducted by Upasana Papadopoulos, in which he describes his approach to astrology as more experiential than cerebral. Back on the Ranch in the early 80’s Sudhir attended an astrology training run by Prasad and Kabir, which I attended too, in which we learned how to work with the magic circle on the floor. This device revolutionized the astrology sessions on offer in the commune, and also later in the Resort in Pune. Instead of listening to an astrologer talking ‘about’ a chart, clients were able to experience their stars directly and viscerally through sitting in the zodiac circle laid out on the floor, going inside and exploring the energies of the signs and planets they became aware of, in them and around them.
I have worked with astrology experientially since then, valuing its potential for expanding awareness beyond the normal ego perspective. But, most of all, the magic circle technique is ideal for bringing us to the centre of the circle, which lies inside us and is the point of the witness. Here we can detach from the viewpoint of the ego personality that lies on the periphery. Here we are distanced from our trips and normal mind patterns, symbolised by the planets and zodiac signs that surround us, and have the opportunity to taste the oneness at the hub of the wheel.
So I can warmly recommend Sudhir’s book to readers, though there are a few things I ‘seriously’ take issue with. For example his suggestion that we have the chart we have because we’re imprinted by the patterns the stars made when we drew our first breath. This, I feel, supports a fatalistic understanding of astrology. I prefer the approach of karmic astrology – that we were born when we were born because we were already carriers of our psychological patterns, formed through the habits we’ve developed in our past lives. This gives us all-important self-responsibility.
And I ‘seriously’ disagree with Sudhir’s view that astrology is a human creation, developed over the millennia through our ancestors experiencing correspondences between events in the sky and events on earth. Instead I see the astrological principles as cosmic and standing for a set of archetypal principles that manifest not only in human life but in the whole of creation. The new cosmological paradigm this leads to, which is backed up by new scientific research, is of an all-inclusive oneness in which we all individually participate (see my book, Inside the Cosmic Mind.)
Sudhir writes, “Astrology is an amusing and at times disarmingly accurate way to get a handle on ourselves,”
Yes, and it can be much more, as Sudhir shows.
Sudhir writes about himself: I trained in Experiential Astrology on the Ranch. Since then I have given sessions, run groups and been involved in Experiential Astrology Trainings in Australia, New Zealand and Pune. I write the Horoscope at www.osho.com and have done so for the last 20 years. My astrology columns appear in a variety of newspapers and magazines in Australia. I presently work as a Drug and Alcohol Counsellor in a free public health clinic in Kings Cross, Sydney. I am available to do Skype readings and run groups and courses. firstname.lastname@example.org – sudhirastropoetica..com – facebook.com