The Journal of Psychological Astrology
1st October 1998
he who causes the heavenly
bodies to move together in harmony
My view of our planet was a glimpse of divinity.
Edgar Mitchell, Apollo XIV astronaut
Consciousness, creativity, individuality; these are goals that our Western culture currently espouses while we hurtle headlong to the end of this Millennium. As astrologers, we associate these qualities with the Sun, the heart of our psyches; we encourage our clients to strive for these qualities almost without question. These are self-evidently “good” characteristics, our culture tells us; and every day there are new therapies and remedies and schools of thought aimed at invoking them. It’s time, however, to take a serious look at what they mean. We do not have to go as far as Adolf Guggenbühl-Craig, mischievously playing Devil’s Advocate in this issue, and see this drive to creativity as pathology. But we have to look at both sides of a thing to know it, not only the side presented to us. The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.
I hope that this magazine will be of interest not only to astrologers, but to anyone interested in the process of healing, of growth. Mythology offers us such a mine of information on human psychology that one does not have to accept the divinatory aspect of astrology to appreciate the riches that lie therein.
As astrology magazines go, Apollon is perhaps short on traditional astrological articles; with the admirable exception of John Etherington’s knowledgeable and well-researched foray into the life of Leonard Cohen. What we are aiming for is a wide spectrum of thought and experience on a particular theme; and in this issue, I hope you agree we’ve achieved it. There are articles ranging in style from the academic earthiness of Brian Hobley’s research into the archaeology of ancient Greece and Rome, to the intensely personal and moving autobiography of Anne Whitaker, which brings her chart, and therefore our understanding of astrology, to life. In Darby Costello’s piece on “Fire and the Imagination” we are treated to a dazzling fireworks display of fiery symbolism, that leaves one basking in her infectious intuition; in Charles Harvey’s elegant exposition of the psychology of global economics and politics, he gives some idea of the backdrop against which we play out our lives.
We chose the name Apollon because first and foremost he represents the striving for excellence. And yet in spite of this admirable pretension, we also chose the name Apollon, as opposed to the more familiar Roman version of his name, because there is already a magazine called Apollo, which caters to the antique trade. As with everything, the mundane, trivial details involved in bringing a dream to reality can cause one to stumble, if one is not careful. In choosing the original Greek name we are, however, consciously reaching back further to his “Gentleman of Olympus” nature; the only god for whom all other gods would stand when he entered their presence.
As far as I can make out, the last magazine to be entitled “Apollon” was published by the poet Nikolai Gumilev from 1909 -1916; it was the journal of the acmeist literary movement of Russia. Acmeists aspired to qualities of strength, concreteness and clarity; but such admirable intentions didn’t prevent Gumilev from being executed in 1921, for alleged involvement in an anti-Soviet conspiracy. To fully honour Apollon attracts attention; his example serves to remind us of how ambivalent this attention can be.
In attempting to understand how Apollo lives on in contemporary culture, I searched the Internet for his name. The Internet, manifestation of the recent Uranus/Neptune conjunction, is as close as we can get to a collective mind at work, and observing it has proved endlessly fascinating for me in my work and play. As well as the expected mythological references, I found mention of the ballet by Ballanchine/Stravinsky at the New York City Ballet, some browsing software called Apollon, “Apollongym”, a tanning salon in New Jersey, and a Greek football team. I learned that Apollon is also the name for a proposal for a new scientific experiment “to measure the gluon spin distribution of the nucleon by polarised photoproduction of J/Psi mesons.” There’s also a website called “The Apollon Galleries” devoted to the male nude, which requests visitors “who are very religious or wish to enforce their values upon others” to “kindly stay out”.
However the vast amount of references to Apollo are of course related to the American project to land on the Moon. It is endlessly fascinating how scientists choose their nomenclature. In choosing Apollo as the name of their project they were perhaps missing the point; surely a Moon goddess should have been chosen, if it were the Moon we were trying to reach. But as the decades slip by since that August night (in Europe, anyway) in 1969, when, at the age of six, I was woken up by my father to watch history in the making, it is possible to place that quintessentially Apollonian adventure in perspective.
As Liz Greene writes in this issue, “we cannot directly hear the wisdom the Sun contains except through our feelings, bodies, and imagination.” In our effort to reach the Moon, with two competing superpowers vying to be first in the race, we gained not so much an insight into the Moon, as was expected, but into ourselves. For the first time we saw our home, the lonely blue planet suspended in inky blackness. Our urge was to reach out, to colonize, to inhabit, to possess our satellite with what were undeniably thrusting, phallic rockets; but the end result was so much different to what we could have imagined.
Using the Apollo missions as a metaphor for our own individual journeys, we can see how paradoxical our efforts at becoming more conscious are; how quixotic and yet inspiring, how transient and yet indelible. The leap of the imagination that saw us break out of the realms of what we thought was possible left behind nothing but a few flags, a few bits of scrap aluminium, and a couple of golfballs on the surface of our neighbour, who remains unbeholden to us. But what we brought back was the beginning of a new global awareness, a self-consciousness hitherto inconceivable.
Technology, which had brought so much change to our world, so much progress and so much destruction, was being put to use in a way that satisfied no urge other than to grow. If the end result of our journeys to the Moon - which cost several human lives, as well as an obscene amount of money, considering the poverty in the world - left us with nothing but a few rocks, a few useful technological advances, and some pretty pictures, then that is a salutary reminder of the transience of our own lives, and the significance of finding meaning and perspective somewhere along the way in our struggle for growth.
We’ve loosely based this issue on Apollo himself, and the theme of creativity. Each issue we’ll attempt to address different facets of the mythology of the solar god, and in so doing, we hope, learn a bit more about ourselves. We hope you enjoy it.
Plus:All information on the forthcoming seminars at the CPA, plus how to order from the CPA Press.