Calling and the Soul’s Transformations for 2017

Part Two of Astrologies of Soul: Character, Calling, Karma


This course begins on Thursday January 26 for six weeks, from 7:00-9:00 ET and 4:00-6:00 PT.

Conducted by Enid Newberg and Joseph Crane

For more information and to register

It is a narrow view of soul that confines it to the individual and the world of the personal psyche and this course surveys the soul’s total environment, its interactions with its world –or worlds. Astrology has some important roles to play.

cacciaguidaEntering the soul’s larger world comes to us most strongly in the experience of being “called”.  Often it is more comfortable and less frightening not to respond to the call and the result is a diminished life.  If we respond to the call this becomes our soul’s “vocation”, its portal to a wider reality. Much of the soul’s journey is the discovery of a larger sense of who we are and how to trod the difficult path to transform ourselves and our world. There is an entire cultural history around these universal experiences.

This program surveys the ways in which soul interacts with the world and how soul conceived externally interacts with us.  We will work with the many expressions of soul – including material – within astrology’s symbolism, and will see how a natal chart can depict one’s calling.  We’ll explore varieties of transformation through ritual, art, and nature.  Finally, we’ll look at our our society and its many expressions of living together – cultural, social, and alas, political.  We explore how our interaction with culture, society, and history can be soul-diminishing or soul-expanding.

medievalThere are six meetings.  The first two uncover the soul’s sense of calling and how we fall from that calling and how we return, from the viewpoint of astrology, philosophy, religion, and art.  The three classes that follow are about transformations of soul and world, first looking at alchemy from traditional and modern interpretations, then ritual, magic, music and art.  The final class takes on the soul as inclusive, belonging to nature and to our current society and history – including its politics.  Here is a description of each meeting:


Calling, Fall, Return

  • What is calling? It is one of the most important activities and expressions of soul. Some individuals act early upon their calling and carry it out successfully – but they are often the exceptions. An intuitive awareness of the larger world in which we live appears to be Indispensable.  We must take that important first step of moving from the personal to the global – or cosmic – and appreciating that we can make a difference in the larger world. The symbols of astrology provide one template for this process.
  • Is it part of the soul’s nature to fall and return? This seems to be so for all of us In modern thinking, the “call” is away from unconscious conformity and habitual thinking and behavior and moves us toward authentic being: this can occur many times in our lives.  The traditional metaphor, however, is cosmic – the soul descends from the heavens downwards and lands on earth, and return is a journey back upwards through the heavens. We will compare different approaches from long ago that have strongly influenced our understanding today, that are part of our “cultural DNA”.


Transformations of Soul and World

  • We begin to survey the journeys of transformation by looking at the many traditions and sacredmarriageinterpretations of alchemy that transforms the world’s matter and the individual soul simultaneously. We’ll note hermetic traditions and Jungian interpretations and focus on the Alchemical Marriage of the Sun and Moon as emblematic of the reconciliation of the soul and the world.  Alchemy is psychological and spiritual process, one that works directly with natural world
  • We then survey a universal and primordial form of the human soul’s self-expression: ritual. We’ll compare the solar motion upwards with the lunar motion that utilizes material at hand for purposes of transformation and inclusion into a world of divinity.  We’ll touch upon ritual practice and theory multiculturally from Eastern Tantra to Western Theurgy (“god-making”) to modern neo-pagan practices that many of us do. What are the ritual elements in music and the arts?
  • We then look at magic and the magical practices of astrology, showing connections and distinctions between sympathetic and ceremonial magic. The Renaissance gave us an oasis in time when magic and astrology and philosophy fused to create the strongest expressions of soul within the Western tradition.  In particular, we’ll look at Marsilio Ficino’s juxtaposition of traditional astrology and sympathetic magic to encourage his students to live in greater concord with the heavens.  We’ll also survey Ficino’s rendering of the role of music and dance in the cultivation of soul.

The Included (not Occluded) Soul

  • The soul belongs to something larger than itself, and there are a few ways of looking at this. There tibetan-mandalasare profound traditions, East and West, traditional and modern, of nature as the primary means of enhancing soul – and of degrading nature as the means to diminish soul. How does our being in human community – societal, cultural, political, and global – enhance or diminish soul?  How does place enhance or diminish soul?  And what about people? Does not our cultural and political life also represent a calling from the cosmos? Is this also how the soul can feel most alive?  Can astrology help us understand how this applies to us personally?


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