A.K. READER: A newspaper opinion piece from 1988

 I wrote this during the time I lived in Jackson Wyoming. The Publisher of the paper that agreed to run it then lived in Casper Wyoming. He had been my first love in high school, and my second husband during our early ’30s when he was Editor of our home town paper in Twin Falls, Idaho, and I had moved back to be with him. I remain eternally grateful for Dick’s deep support of me during the two years we were together, when I was also devouring the language of astrology —  to the point where, one morning, I woke up, and realized that I had been dreaming in this symbolic language.

ASTROLOGY DEEPENS OUR UNDERSTANDING OF TIME & SPACE

June 3, 1988

by Ann Kreilkamp, Ph.D.

Guest Column: Casper Star-Tribune

 

“So. What do you think about the news that Reagan believes in astrology?”

How often, during the past month, have I heard this question? And each time I hear it, I cringe.

I cringe because the question puts me, once again, in a position of having to say, in a few words, what cannot be understood without a total change in world view. It’s a bit like a tropical islander who hears about a phenomenon called “snow,” and asks a visiting Eskimo if he believes in it. On the one hand, of course! On the other hand, what a strange question! Snow is an obvious fact of Eskimo existence. His very survival depends upon his awareness of snow. He can barely imagine how yawning the gap must be between the tropical and the arctic mind’s knowledge of, memories of, associations with, attitudes towards — that little word “snow.”

The “scientific experts” who declare astrology worthless are like tropical islanders, isolated entirely from the world upon which they so arrogantly pass judgment. As Isaac Newton himself is said to have responded to one of his critics on this very subject: “Sir, I have studied it, you have not!”

And I cringe for another reason, best shown in a good joke on the subject currently making the rounds: “Did you hear that Reagan believes in astrology?” “Oh really! That makes me lose faith . . . in astrology.”

Reagan is not a person I would ask to decide the value of astrology. Indeed, this latest embarrassment of the Reagan presidency is probably, as Lance Morrow put it in a tongue-in-cheek editorial in the May 16th issue of Time Magazine, “the metaphysical equivalent of his jelly beans.”

 

And that’s the problem. I cringe because the astrology that the public is aware of through syndicated newspaper columns, and the astrology within which I am immersed, inhabit two entirely different universes.

I am an astrologer. I make my living as a consultant in astrology; I write and publish regularly on the subject; I read and study and think endlessly upon and within this most ancient and fascinating language. It is my life. It is, and has been for the past 14 years, my ruling passion. I do not expect it to stop anytime soon.

Prior to this, I was a student of philosophy, earning a doctorate in philosophy of science from Boston University in 1972. My quest for the inner meaning of astrology is philosophical: astrology is an investigation into the nature of, and the interconnected and ever-changing structures of, the two most fundamental and deeply-rooted concepts of human understanding, those of time and space.

To fully enter the world of astrology is to transform the way the concepts of time and space operate within one’s psyche. To do this is to expand one’s world-view from the narrow window of Newtonian science to include aspects of life that we all experience but seldom consciously recognize.

The Newtonian world-view assumes that time is linear, that it measures points on a line, moment to moment, each moment the same, all of them stretching endlessly forward into the future. The western ideal of “progress” is a corollary to this unquestioned assumption about the nature of time. Our obsession with progress is associated with the ideals of industry and mechanization. We have made idols out of our tools, focusing on our relationship with them, rather than the natural world around us. What we do to the outside reflects within: we squash our very aliveness into the rules and roles of mechanical motion.

Linear time, as a basic epistemological condition for our perceiving everything else, subtly and irrevocably separates us from both our own natures and the natural world around us. And the results of this separation are coming in now, through massive and perhaps irreversible pollution of earth, air, and water. Unlike any other animal, we have carelessly fouled our own nest.

By contrast, astrological time is the time of the interweaving of many different cycles into one glorious fabric of creation, in which we are all participants. Astrology acknowledges a most basic fact of human experience — the ebb and flow of all that is. While we tend to associate astrology with heavenly phenomena like the phases of the moon, and cannot help but marvel at the timing of both the tides and human female menstrual cycles here on earth, there are other, equally ubiquitous cycles which we all participate in, and which also present us with the wondrous orderliness of nature. Simply our breathing — in and out, in and out — is our most personal and most obvious, and therefore least noticed cycle; we cannot help but adjust ourselves to the quotidian cycles of day and night, or the seasonal changes both within our aging bodies and within nature as she ever renews herself. All these cycles and many, many more — there is nothing alive that does not function in interwoven cycles, and everything, even the rocks and the planets are alive — all these cycles are so obvious to us that we do not see them, and thus fail to recognize the profound truth of the cyclical nature of time.

Rather than removing us from either our own nature or the natural world around us, astrology honors the unceasing birthing, flowering and dying of all living forms. Instead of separating ourselves off from life in an attempt to become purely predictable, mechanical, “living” our lives according to the pre-set expectation of who we think we are, we move with the flow of life, knowing all is change, and accepting the precise coordinates for any particular moment, its surprising but exacting character, what its nature entails.

As our conception of time is enlarged and deepened through the study of astrology, so is that of space. We open our eyes and hearts and souls, replacing our preoccupation with space as merely three dimensions, an empty container, the void — wherein we feel lonely, alienated and separate from others — to a feeling for its full, rich, and multi-dimensional character. We sense and feel bathed by, protected and nourished within, a space which is itself a living entity, carrying and making music with the resonance of all possible frequencies. What we think and speak and do matters; each action, no matter how trivial, reverberates throughout the whole, affecting all of us. In a very real sense, we are all parts of one another.

The great physicist Niels Bohr once said: “The opposite of a fact is another fact. But the opposite of one great truth is another great truth.” Astrology acknowledges the double truth of a fundamental paradox, known in academic philosophical circles as “the problem of the one and the many.”

Astrology teaches that each of us is one among many; standing at the exact center of the universe, we are each an utterly unique and irreplaceable individual. Astrology honors the unlimited evolutionary capacity of each of us as an unfolding from within of the laws of our own natures.

Simultaneously, by placing each of us within the larger universe, and showing our original and continuously changing relations to it, astrology teaches that the many are also one: each of us exists as a mere point within an infinite, divine continuum. We expand to fill the space available. We express our love for the whole of creation.

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