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Ceres & Paradigm Change

Richard Tarnas, in his new book Cosmos and Psyche, suggests the possibilities of re-defining the current worldview -and thereby the seeds that we sow. In his keynote address at a recent Astrology conference, Tarnas noted the need for the new Collective World-View or cultural paradigm to integrate a Lunar or Matriarchal model –“the light that allows other lights to shine.” He went on to state unequivocally that “clearly something is dying.” Later he explained that something to be the Solar light of Science –the light that blots out all other lights. In a fashion very similar to other prominent astrologers before him, he suggested that this Solar light has climbed to its height in the sky –and is now starting to descend.

            Dane Rhudyar made a very similar assertion. Rudhyar often insisted that we are living in the autumnal phase of the present culture cycle. “The guiding force of Rudhyar's life was rooted in two important realizations … The first, which had two parts, was that Time was cyclic and that the Law of Cycles controlled all civilizations as well as all existence. The second was that Western civilization was approaching the symbolical "autumn phase" of its period of existence.”Autumn is decay, the seed falling to the ground, the withdrawing inward of life, the ending of a cycle.

It seems clear to me both men are suggesting that we are at a seminal moment in the history of our species. I think that we are going through a process no less dramatic than the very birth of our species, the Agricultural Revolution and/or the birth of Civilization. Each of the ancient planetary myths has a rather literal geo-historical parallel. The stuffing back into the womb of unacceptable offspring by Uranus can be seen as an allegory to what anthropologists say was the out-competing of the other various side-branches of the human tree by Homo Sapiens. The paradigm shift of the Agricultural Revolution has as its mythic parallel the story with which I began. Saturn –the Time Lord –overthrowing the chaotic reign of Uranus is the story of the agriculturalists overcoming the wandering hunter-gatherers. Saturn instituted the regular Solar Calendar, the laws of the resulting hierarchical societies, and the limits and taboos of monotheistic religions. But Saturn committed essentially the same sins as his father, Uranus. Only instead of stuffing his children back into the womb –he swallowed them. The swallowing of Saturn can be seen as an allegory to the overcoming of the hunter-gatherers by the agriculturalists and their forced (often through slavery –and then acculturation) entrance into the new agricultural paradigm. But Saturn was tricked by his wife into swallowing a stone instead of his son Jupiter. Thus we have the birth of the next paradigm –Western Civilization.

The division of labor resulting from the Agricultural, Iron and Bronze Age revolutions led in turn to the formation of cities, commerce and centralized governments and Kings. The western King is different from the tribal chieftan –who lived amongst the people. Zeus-Pater or Jupiter was in one form or another King of the Gods from the Sumerians all the way down to the Greeks and Romans. Many feel he is represented in the Tarot as The Emporer. In mythology, Jupiter was a God with many mistresses and children. Today we know that he is a planet with many Moons –who gives off more energy than he receives from the Sun –having only narrowly missed becoming a Star himself. Thus Jupiter is seen to embody the Expansion principle. We can see both the many children and expansion principle of Jupiter in the Greeks -the founders of Western Civilization. The many city-states that made up the Greek Empire echo Jupiter’s many progeny and of course Alexander was to expand the Greek Empire to the very edges of the known World. Another thing the Greeks and Jupiter are known for is the birth of Knowledge.

Western Civilization has largely been about expansion and knowledge –or expansion through knowledge. As Jung notes –our increasing understanding of the physical world resulted in the withdrawal of our projection of the God concept upon it. As we learned to manipulate the world –we grew less in awe of it. This process of course had its culmination in the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions. As noted previously, eminent scholars agree that as we enter the Age of Information (and some say the Aquarian Age) –The Earth is clearly pregnant with the seed of a new paradigm. That Astrologers can act as mid-wives to this process has been a theme in my writing for some time now. What I have come to realize recently is that as we wrestle with our personal world-view –we facilitate the birth of a new collective paradigm –much as Jacob became Israel by wrestling with his Angel.

A close examination of the order of the planets shows that the paradigm shifts for humanity have followed a descending order through the visible planets: Uranus to Saturn to Jupiter. I believe that the discovery of Chiron and the other Centaurs, along with the recent elevation of Ceres to dwarf-planet status and the discovery of Eris and other Kuiper Belt objects, all point the way to the new paradigm that is being birthed. Rather than one governing archetype, the new paradigm has a host of smaller bodies which invite us to explore a return to a de-centralized existence. The new paradigm is clearly more matriarchal –“the Light that allows all other lights to shine” -which Tarnas invoked. Yet, we have the opportunity to keep the best of both worlds –to live as “if I only knew then what I know now” by incorporating technology into a sustainable world-view and moving “Beyond Civilization.” Anthropologist Daniel Quinn suggests that by boycotting corporate market domination –and instead buying locally and establishing “tribal economies” –that we may re-align ourselves with the way the process of Life actually works. Exactly how this is to be done is still very much up in the air, but the point is that it is up to individuals to re-define the mechanics of the World and birth a new cultural paradigm. The recent discovery of many “minor planets,” asteroids and Kuiper belt objects suggests that there exist a plenitude of ways to address modern issues. Indeed diversity is not just key to the new paradigm, but to the very process of Evolution –or Life itself.

As astrologers, respecting diversity means having the courage to step beyond the known boundaries and tackle the enormous task of defining the meaning of the new paradigm. Much has been written on both Chiron and Ceres’ roles in nativities. But what are the sociological functions of these archetypes? What do these planets have to say in the Mundane arena? The answers to these questions can be found by looking to the interactions of these new archetypes with the outer planets –which currently dominate many Mundane discussions.

Al Gore’s Academy Award winning documentary about Global Warming –An Inconvenient Truth –opened the month after the Ceres/Neptune conjunction in Aquarius. In February and March 2007 there was a series of conjunctions between Ceres, the North Node of the Moon, and Uranus in Pisces. This is when the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its fourth assessment report. This scientific report finally confirms what governments have been trying to sweep under the rug for decades: the fact that humans are responsible for Global Warming. Despite some last minute editing by countries desperate to continue their addictions to fossil fuels, the report also gives some very disturbing information about the consequences of Global Warming. The cat is out of the bag. Denial is no longer an option. Though it is quite clear many of those addicted to fossil fuels feel that delay is the next best step, to the discerning Astrologer or New Age Renaissance person –the time to birth Ceres is now.


Richard Tarnas Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View. Penguin Group: New York.

Richard Tarnas “Is Astrology at the Threshold of a New Era?” March 9, 2007 Keynote Address at “Geocosmic Alchemy” –NCGR’s National conference.

 “Tribute to Dane Rudhyar part IX –What was Dane Rudhyar Alive For?” This international tribute was written by: Joyce Hoen- The Netherlands, Jeff Jawer - U.S.A., Helene W. Koppejan - van Woelderen - England, Ann Kreilkamp - U.S.A., Roeland M. de Looff - The Netherlands, Michael R. Meyer - U.S.A., Alexander Ruperti - Switzerland, Patana Usuni - U.S.A.

 Dane Rudhyar, Culture, Crisis and Creativity. Quest Books, 1977.

  Zeus-Pater derived from a prehistoric dyeus pater 'bright father' –Jupiter being the brightest star in the sky –next to Venus

  David McCann, “Jupiter in Myth and Occult Philosophy” The Traditional Astrologer Magazine, issue 17, September 1998

 “Through the withdrawal of projections, conscious knowledge slowly developed. Science, curiously enough, began with the discovery of astronomical laws, and hence with the withdrawal, so to speak, of the most distant projections.”

 Carl Jung "Psychology and Religion" (1938) In CW II: Psychology and Religion: West and East. P. 140

Gary P. Caton, “Uranus in Pisces: Birthing the New Age.” NCGR Memberletter. August/September 2002.

  Daniel Quinn, Beyond Civilization. Three Rivers Press: New York. 1999.


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