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Myths-Dreams-Symbols
Exploring the Human Psyche
The Unconscious World of Dream
Characteristics of Self Actualizing People
Liberating the Inner Child
 Realistic
	Realistically oriented, a Self-Actualizing (SA) person has a more efficient perception 
	of reality, and has comfortable relations with it. This is extended to all areas of life. 
	A Self-Actualizing person is unthreatened and unfrightened by the unknown. He 
	has a superior ability to reason, to see the truth, and is logical and efficient.
 Self Acceptance
	Accepts himself, others and the natural world the way they are. Sees human nature 
	as is, has a lack of crippling guilt or shame, enjoys himself without regret or 
	apology, and has no unnecessary inhibitions.

 Spontaneity, Simplicity, Naturalness
	Spontaneous in his inner life.  Thoughts and impulses are unhampered by 
	convention.  His ethics are autonomous, and Self-actualizing individuals are 
	motivated to continual growth.

 Focus of Problem Centering
	A Self-actualizing person focuses on problems and people outside of himself. 
	He has a mission in life requiring much energy, as it is his sole reason for 
	existence. He is serene, characterized by a lack of worry, and is devoted to duty.


 Detachment: The Need for Privacy
	The Self-actualized person can be alone and not be lonely, is unflappable, and 
	retains dignity amid confusion and personal misfortunes, all  the while 
	remaining objective.  He is a self starter, is responsible for himself, and owns 
	his behavior.

 Autonomy: Independent of Culture and Environment
	The SA person has a fresh rather than stereotyped appreciation of people and 
	the basic good in life.  Moment to moment living for him is thrilling, trans-
	cending, and spiritual as he lives the present moment to the fullest. 

 Peak Experiences
	"Feelings of limitless horizons opening up to the vision, the feeling of being 
	simultaneously more powerful and also more helpless than one ever was before, 
	the feeling of ecstasy and wonder and awe, the loss of placement in time and  
	space with, finally, the conviction that something extremely important and val-
	uable had happened, so that the subject was to some extent transformed and 
	strengthened even in his daily life by such experiences." Abraham Maslow 


 Interpersonal relations
	Identification, sympathy, affection for mankind, kinship with the good, bad, 
	and ugly are all traits of the SA person. Truth is clear to him as he can see 
	things others cannot.  He has profound, intimate relationships with few and is 
	capable of greater love than others consider possible as he shares his bene-
	volence, affection, and friendliness with everyone. 

 Democratic values and attitudes 
	The SA person is able to learn from anyone, is humble and friendly with anyone 
	regardless of class, education, political belief, race or color. 

 Discrimination: means and ends, Good and Evil
	The SA does not confuse between means and ends and does no wrong. He enjoys 
	the here and now, getting to goal--not just the result. He makes the most tedious 
	task an enjoyable game and has his own inner moral standards (appearing 
	amoral to others). 

 Philosophical, unhostile sense of humor

	Jokes to the SA person are teaching metaphors, intrinsic to the situation and 
	are spontaneous.  He can laugh at himself, but he never makes jokes that hurt 
	others. 

 Creativity
	The SA person enjoys an inborn uniqueness that carries over into everything 
	he does, is original, inventive, uninhibited, and he sees the real and true more 
	easily.  

 Resistance to enculturation: Transcendence of any particular culture
	SA people have an inner detachment from culture.  Although folkways may be 
	observed, SA people are not controlled by them.   Working for long term culture 
	improvement, indignation with injustice, inner autonomy, outer acceptance, and  
	the ability to transcend the environment rather than just cope are intrinsic to 
	SA people. 

 Imperfections 
	SA people are painfully aware of their own imperfections and joyfully aware of 
	their own growth process.   They are impatient with themselves when stuck and 
	feel real life pain as a result.


 Values 
	The SA person is realistically human due to a philosophical acceptance of self, 
	human nature, social life, physical reality, and nature. 

 Resolution of dichotomies
	Polar opposites merge into a third, higher phenomenon as though the two have 
	united; therefore, opposite forces are no longer felt as conflict.  To the SA 
	person  work becomes play and desires are in excellent accord with reason.  
	The SA person retains his childlike qualities yet is very wise.
	 
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The Self
Achieving Self Actualization

Jump to the following topics:

  1. What is the Self?  
  2. When we encounter the Self, we re-evaluate the ego.  
  3. The Self grants new perspectives.  
  4. We gain many benefits from an identification with the Self.  
  5. We cannot know the Self intellectually. 
  6. We can meet the Self in other ways.  
  7. We truly become acquainted with the Self during midlife. 

What is the Self? (In this book, the capitalized word, "Self," is used in accordance with Jungian psychology; obviously the word, "self," has other meanings in other contexts.) The Self has been described in various ways:

  1. It is the part of the psyche which organizes and directs the rest of the psyche -- the ego, the conscious mind, the personal unconscious, and all other elements of our psychological being.
  2. It is the totality of the psyche, including all of the elements, such as the ego, etc. Because the Self is all of the psyche, its viewpoint contains an objectivity, acceptance, reconciliation, and balance of the "opposites" of ego and shadow, persona and shadow, and our many contradictory feelings and impulses.
  3. It is the center of the psyche (like the nucleus of an atom) to which the other parts of the psyche are connected and subordinate.
  4. It is an archetype.
  5. It is a transcendent, unchanging part of ourselves, in contrast to the ever-varying ego, shadow, complexes, etc.
  6. It is a "God-image" within the psyche. Although Jung was criticized for allegedly implying that the Self is God, he stressed that the Self is not God itself but rather only an image of God, a representation of God as it would be depicted within the psyche (although he did call the Self the "God within us" in Psychology and Religion on page 334). An encounter with the Self feels like a "religious experience" with God; Jung said that the occurrence leaves us vitalized" and "enriched." In addition to being a symbol of God in the psyche, the Self could also be considered a symbol of what the religions call the "soul."

When we encounter the Self, we re-evaluate the ego. Some people mistakenly think that when they encounter the Self, they are simply discovering a greater view of their ego; this error can cause the people to (1) inflate their ideas regarding themselves (believing that the God-like numinosity of the Self is their own personal magnificence), or (2) weaken the ego (as the person attempts to rise into the Self's transcendence at the expense of the ego's healthy structure and limits). Ideally, in our meeting with the larger "Self," we retain the sense of the ego's small"self" as a still-valid part of ourselves. The ego is no longer our only center of identity; thus its importance downsizes to being simply one element of many in the psyche -- still powerful and important as a "manager" but it is not the big boss.


The Self grants new perspectives. When we can look at the ego from the viewpoint of the Self, we gain an objective understanding of the nature of the ego -- its claim to be our identity, its sense of distinction and preeminence over the psyche's other functions, its preferences and tastes, its quests for personal growth and mastery, and its self-centered perspective (which is not a bad thing but rather a vital standpoint for our focus and protection). When we meet the Self, we realize that we have previously assigned some of the Self's functions to the ego simply because we did not know the Self, and the ego seemed to be the only part of us which could fill these roles. Now we can transfer some the ego's functions to that Self; for example, instead of allowing the ego to devise our goals, we accept the Self's goals, which are aligned toward the actualization of its life-purpose; the ego, without the wise, balancing influence of the Self, tends to select goals that are no more than ego-symbols, such as an audacious home.


We gain many benefits from an identification with the Self.

  1. A deeper understanding of the components of the psyche, because the Self has an overview of the psyche. Our Self's perspective is free from the ego's distortions, such as, for example, a fear of the shadow.
  2. Better management of the psyche. Our psychological management -- ego management, shadow management, persona management, etc. -- is performed with a greater awareness and adeptness, because of the Self's knowledge and objectivity.
  3. A slackening of psychological battles. These include the battles of the ego against the shadow, the subpersonalities, the unconscious mind (as in repression), etc. We allow the Self to settle disputes internally with its intimate understanding of the parties involved. Since we do not cling to the ego's viewpoint, we can allow a compromise which is best for all. Also, when our ego is balanced by the Self, it is less likely to provoke external battles, which would engage us with the ego of another person.
  4. More resources. With our new comprehension of the psyche's elements, we can use those elements' attributes to contribute to our well-being and productivity. For example, we might gain better access to the unconscious mind's repressed memories, and the energy of the shadow's contents, and the formerly split-off qualities of our subpersonalities.
  5. Freedom. The Self accepts all "opposite" traits, including the ones which we selected for our ego and persona, and the contrary ones which we cast into the shadow. From the viewpoint of Self, we have a clear vision and objectivity regarding all of those traits, so we have the freedom and ability to reevaluate our selection, and perhaps redefine the ego and persona with this doubled repertoire of available, opposite traits. And because our identity is now invested in the wholistic Self, we have more leeway in choosing to commit, for example, a generous action or a selfish (i.e., tightly protective) action, without being bound to the ego's inflexible self-image (and resulting behavior) as a "selfish" or "generous" person.
  6. Detachment. The ego is in a world of boundaries, and schemes to expand those boundaries, and defenses against threats to the boundaries. The Self respects those priorities of the ego, but it is not engrossed in the ego's urgency and combativeness and emotional reactions; instead, it has a dispassionate, transcendent overview (which includes but is not limited to the ego's perspective). For example, whereas the ego might sense the emergence of contrary shadow material as a danger, the Self welcomes the occurrence as the awakening of a valid part of itself. When we are looking from the standpoint of Self, we are "detached" from the ego's desperate attempts at leadership, and we see that much of that desperation derives from the ego's cognizance that it truly is incompetent when claiming the leadership role which can be fulfilled adequately only by the Self. However, this detachment is not a cold withdrawal from life; instead, we might now engage life more robustly, because we do not suffer so much at the ego's inevitable setbacks in whatever new challenges we assume.
  7. Direction. When we realize that the Self has knowledge and power which are superior to that of the ego, we sensibly, strategically submit to this greater entity, and allow the ego to receive direction from it -- direction which might be contrary to the ego's short-sighted preferences. This submission is similar to that of a religious surrender to "the will of God"; some Jungian writers have said that the submission of the small self to the greater Self is like the crucifixion of Jesus, but the analogy is inaccurate because, unlike the human Jesus, the ego lives on, although in a different role.
  8. Individuality. Because the Self's inclusiveness allows a full spectrum from which to select behaviors and identity components, we become more obviously unique and "individual". Our individualism is charged with vitality and realness because we develop ourselves on the lines of the Self's destiny and life-plan instead of self-consciously creating ourselves from the ego's ideas of its own enhancement (primarily through material symbols of success, etc.)

We cannot know the Self intellectually. Although we can make certain observations about the Self (as this chapter has done), we cannot study the Self in the same manner in which a scientist would examine an amoeba under a microscope. Because the Self is the entirety of us, any viewpoint (such as the ego's viewpoint of the Self) would have a limiting blind spot, as in the situation of an eyeball trying to look at itself. We would be separating ourselves as "observer" and "observed" when in fact the Self is both. As Jung said (in Psychology and Religion on page 334), "Intellectually the Self is no more than a psychological concept, a construct that serves to express an unknowable essence which we cannot grasp as such, since by definition it transcends our powers of comprehension."


We can meet the Self in other ways. To the extent that the Self is comprehensible, we can become familiar with it through the sheer experience of it. We might also meet the Self in a dream's symbolic images, such as those of mandalas or crystals. One author said that the Self is symbolized not only by religious figures such as the Buddha, but also by cultural figures like Superman and Santa Claus. Until we discover this god-like Self within ourselves, we often project it onto people who exhibit "spiritual" qualities such as unconditional acceptance (e.g., a therapist, pastor, or a dear friend), or we might project it upon an object (such as a crucifix) or a place (such as a church) or an organization (such as a charity association).


We truly become acquainted with the Self during midlife. Life is a cycle; in youth, we need to concentrate on the development the ego and its external manifestations -- home, career, "our place in the world," our persona, our differentiation from other people, etc. Midlife is triggered by our relative completion of this ego development. At midlife, we have finished the first part of our life, and now we turn to the next task in the cycle of life, which is to re-integrate that which we needed to separate out during the ego-building stage; we meet the shadow, the anima or animus, and other previously ignored material. As we become familiar with those parts of ourselves, and we gain a view of the totality of us, we awaken to the synergism of these parts: they are not just separate elements, but they are also part of an overall system which has a great consciousness of its own. This system is the Self.


self-actualization (self'ak'chu œ lœ zäshœn), n.
1. Knowledge of one's true, inner self. Fulfillment by oneself of the possibilities of one's character or personality.

2. A term originally introduced by the organismic theorist, Kurt Goldstein, for the motive to realize all of one's potentialities.

3. In Abraham Maslow's theory of personality, the final level of psychological development that can be achieved when all basic and meta needs are fulfilled and the "actualization" of the full personal potential takes place. It is the expression of human qualities of independence, autonomy, a tendency to form deep friendships, a "philosophical" sense of humor, tendency to resist outside pressures, and a general transcendence of the environment, rather than a simple "coping" with it.



Self-actualization is our need to realize wholly who we deep down know we can be. It is that burning need to 'seize the day' and to actualize that sense of vibrancy, integrity, and passion that life offers. It is that drive to make the most of our lives… to utilize fully our physical, mental and soulful capacities....William James


ASTROTHERAPY

Although astrology is one of the oldest and most respected tools known to humanity for the guidance of souls, the term "astrotherapy" is a fairly new one.  

Max Heindel, founder of the Rosicrucian Fellowship, has applied the term "astrotherapy" to refer to all forms of healing (Heindel & Heindel, 1973).  Prior to the age of enlightenment in Europe, astrology was used as the primary basis for all medical diagnoses.  Heindel believed that astrotherapy worked according to the alchemic principles or laws of "Compatibility" and "Systemic Receptibility." 

More recently, many mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, and mental health counselors, who use astrology, either as an adjunct tool or as the major tool for guidance in psychotherapy, have started referring to its use as "astrotherapy."  

Basically, astrotherapy is the application of astrological or planetary symbolism in the context of psychotherapy.

The birth chart can be used to determine where the counseling process should optimally focus at a particular time and how long a particular process may be operative.

Therapists consider astrology to be a valuable tool in psychotherapy because it can help assess the kinds of issues that a client is likely to be facing at a particular time.  It can also help in choosing the most appropriate and effective approach to psychotherapy because it describes the personality of the client and the nature of the events that have brought the client to therapy.

In astrotherapy, astrology is employed for its power and ability to aid in psychological healing and growth.  It is also used to assist and guide in the transformation of the client's personality and to facilitate self-actualization and self-transcendence.

Some psychologists, or "astropsychologists,"  believe that astrology can be used to foster empathy for the client's internal world, that astrology represents a theory of personality, that it can be used as a diagnostic tool, and that it can be used to help relieve existing symptoms and promote positive personality growth.

Many students of astrology use it as a form of auto- or self-therapy.  They use their birth chart to help guide themselves toward greater psychological and spiritual awareness.

At this time there are no laws governing the licensure of either "Astrotherapy," or the "astrotherapists," who use astrology therapeutically in their practices or consultations.

RECENT HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Astrology assumes that there are patterns of energy underlying the universe and that these patterns flow throughout the universe and are reflected in its very contents.  These same patterns and cycles are reflected in the movements of stars and planets as well as in the movements of people and events.   Hence, the movements of people and events are not caused by stellar or planetary movements.  Both reflect the same patterns of energy underlying the movements and life of the universe itself.  Therefore, our characters and destinies are reflected throughout the universe from the smallest subquanta to the largest galaxies because the same energy patterns are found throughout.  The psychologist Carl Jung used the term "synchronicity" to refer to this interrelatedness shared by all things.

Additionally, the past, present, and future of all patterns and cycles of energy are believed to be reflected by the contents of the universe as well.  The past and the future of all energy patterns can be seen within each particle that makes up the universe no matter where the particle may be within its own cycle.

Dane Rudhyar is considered to be the founder of modern day astrotherapy.  In the 1930's he enriched the art of astrological interpretation by applying concepts from Jung's school of analytic psychology and from Annie Besant's (Besant, 1953; Besant & Leadbeater, 1969) and Alan Leo's (Leo, 1967) schools of theosophy.  He also popularized the techniques and philosophical interpretations developed by Marc Edmond Jones.  Rudhyar especially liked Jung's belief that the self seeks psychic wholeness through the process of "individuation."  Rudhyar believed that the natal chart was one of the best symbols for the process of individuation as it is expressed in the life of each person.

In latter writings, Rudhyar borrowed heavily from the humanistic school of psychology, especially from the person-centered philosophies of Carl Rogers and the self-actualization theories of Abraham Maslow.  After founding the humanistic school of astrology, Rudhyar followed in the footsteps of the humanistic psychologists by developing the transpersonal school of astrology.  He further enriched the practice of astrological interpretation by adding to it spiritual concepts found in yoga, Hinduism, Buddhism, and other Asian and aboriginal practices.

Rudhyar has suggested that the birth chart can be interpreted on four basic levels:  The biological level, which refers to medical astrology; 2., the sociocultural level, which refers to vocational, talent, work, and career issues; 3., the humanistic or psychologically oriented level; and 4., the transpersonal level.  On the humanistic or person-centered level, the purpose of astrology is to seek fulfillment as an individual through self-knowledge and self-actualization.  The term "personhood," referring to sociocultural success and self-actualization, is the primary focus of humanistic astrology.  On the transpersonal level, astrology is used to facilitate initiation and transition into states of expanded awareness, self-consecration, and spiritually inspired creative activity.  The term "selfhood," referring to self-transcendence and transpersonal creativity, is the focus of transpersonal astrology (Rudhyar, 1980). 

 

HUMANISTIC ASTROLOGY/ASTROTHERAPY

The humanistic approach to astrology assumes that every planetary position is purposeful and has a positive potential.  The birth chart is considered to be the inner blueprint for the client's unfolding.  A growth-oriented attitude is used in the interpretation of the chart.  It is assumed that synchronizing the client's life with the planetary pattern will move the client more rapidly forward in his or her personal evolution.

Greg Bogart, who has written extensively on "therapeutic astrology," has reported that astrology can be used to identify major themes and repeated areas of emphasis in the person's life; to perceive unconscious patterns of thought, feeling, or behavior; to help the client view life from a symbolic and cyclic perspective that reveals the underlying meaning and purpose of events, including chaotic or painful experiences; to help the client make choices that are appropriate to the developmental path suggested by the birth chart; to explore the kinds of experiences the client might expect during a given period of time, as indicated by planetary transits and progressions; to assist the client through crises of spiritual awakening; to help the counselor understand the client more fully and thereby increase therapeutic empathy; to facilitate the therapist's ability to help the client resolve core life dilemmas and navigate crucial transitional periods; and to understand the rhythm and various stages of psychotherapy and processes such as resistance, de compensation, transference, and counter-transference.



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