Levels of Reality in Astrology

Astrology is an exceptional tool for investigating the nature of reality. Contrary to what many think, there is more to this study than character analysis and prediction; in fact, it can be used in as many different ways as there are views of reality.

Astrology was the most suitable vehicle Anthony Damiani could find to elaborate his vision of metaphysics. Its more typical use is to help people with psychological and interpersonal difficulties, or for professional consultation in a wide range of applications. It's even used to time events and divine answers to questions. In the right hands, astrology can be used to interpret just about anything.

It's a bit mystifying how a single discipline could be effective in so many different ways. Anthony employs the cosmos to delineate facets of knowledge and being that range from the mundane to the metaphysical. So one might ask: How can the same basic symbology used to interpret a person's moods also be used to probe the ontological status of reality? Or, to put the question the way an astrologer might ask it: How are the natal and metaphysical charts related?

Both charts utilize the same glyphs around the circle of the zodiac, but their applications couldn't be more different. As PB says, "The chasm between the Real and man seems entirely impassable." (28-2.79) Does this mean there are two different astrologies to address two kinds of existence - one of pure spirit to which the quantitative categories of the second have no application? No, we hold that there is but one unity, one total essence out of which all things proceed, and that the astrological framework Anthony presents in Astronoesis symbolizes the whole of it to the extent that representation is possible. In this view, the two charts are distinct but not separate and share a common source.

How, then, do we go about interpreting a symbolism that identifies man with the Real while acknowledging the differences? We're looking for a golden thread - an umbilical cord that leads to a spiritual realm that preexists the world of sense. The ancient philosophers claimed that such a link could be found by assimilating ourselves to the divine intelligible paradigms of the planets. Anthony agrees, saying, "The cosmic circuit can announce or reflect back to us the meanings that are in the intelligible world." (Astronoesis, p. 42) If this is so, the symbolism of the planets, signs, and degrees can facilitate our pursuit of a divine life, and authentic meaning can be extracted through the agency of astrology, even if only indirectly. But how?

A clue to the connection between individual and cosmic or between sensible and intelligible realms may be found in the law of similitude: like attracting that to which it is like. Through purification, the dimlypure in a secondary and discordant nature can attain to an ever more perfect expression of itself by dilating to its prior principle or antecedent cause. When astrology is used for this exalted purpose - to symbolically link core celestial principles to the summit of their expression - it begins to fulfill its promise as a spiritual path in its own right.

Another approach is to consider astrology as a science of analogy, which is one of the keys to its potency. The individual reflects the entire cosmos in miniature while the cosmos in turn reflects the entire man in the larger magnitude of his being. By imitating the perfection of the cosmos, we become more similar to it and in this way approach the perfection in ourselves. This is the guiding reality of the natal chart.

Stepping the analogy up a level, the cosmos itself assimilates as much of spiritual reality or Nous as it can through the medium of Soul, which seeks to elevate itself to the unity of real Being, while Nous in turn reflects the cosmos (through the descent of Soul) as a posterior image of itself. And pervasive of the whole is the One, the ultimate truth of all possible levels. This is the guiding reality of the metaphysical chart.

Through this interweaving network of cosmic relationships, the natal and metaphysical charts are seen to be linked in an analogic chain. This gives us an opportunity to use the symbolic language of astrology, which commonly employs the entire chain, as a tool for probing into the nature of reality.

A more direct approach to realizing the continuity of levels is to consider the planets in their essence as Gods and the signs and the degrees as Divine Ideas - the paradigms of function and substance which form the basis of life for body, soul, and spirit. Mundane life, which is generally considered to be a woefully imperfect imitation of the Real, is here seen as an expression of the Real, only through a distorting medium. In this view, the universe and everything in it is in perfect identity with its divine archetypes, and the world itself is the "perpetually becoming body of the Divine." (Astronoesis, p. 43) Our role here is to identify with our essential nature. An astrological technique for doing this is to live our degree meanings, or to contemplate the intelligence of the degrees that is being manifested by the planetary powers. By contacting the guiding ideas that the Gods are making available to us, we can ultimately come to know the divine essence of our own being. "A knowledge of the Gods is accompanied by a conversion to, and a knowledge of, ourselves." (Iamblicus, On the Mysteries)

Not that we can draw this dominion down to ourselves. By definition, that which participates in generation is incapable of fully grasping its prior: bodily consciousness cannot hope to comprehend the fullness of soul, yet something of soul is nevertheless present in body. So we also need to acknowledge the transcendent aspect of existence even as it is immanent within us.

We can agree that the natal chart is contained within the metaphysical chart, but if we are to accept the unity of all things, the metaphysical chart must also be presenced in the natal chart. I would submit that the distilled essence of the Idea-Principles that runs through all the levels and unifies them can provide a thread of continuity to help us begin to know these meanings, even if the signposts are only latent potential within us.

And throughout these levels of existence, the 12-fold schema with its planetary dignities provides a ubiquitous superstructure upon which the nature of reality may be investigated and contemplated.


Written by: Greg Kramer,  August, 2001