Who inspired my first steps on the Path
Twenty-seven years ago at the Balsamic phase of my last Progressed Lunation Cycle, Rudhyar entered my life, significantly influencing the tone and direction of the approaching new cycle. Rudhyar commented that the Balsamic phase was powerful despite its dark inactive reputation. Often significant people or events appeared at this phase, catalyzing the dissolution of outlived forms and assisting the growth of a seed that could potentially come to fruition during the next Progressed Lunation cycle. Over the next 16 years through direct personal experience and involvement in presenting different aspects of Rudhyar’s transformational creative impulse (music , art, poetry, philosophical and astrological work) I was mentored into a holistic approach to life. Throughout our friendship I enjoyed the benefit of his penetrating and inspiring insights into all aspects of my life. I learned how to apply the concepts he wrote about by observing the unique quality of meaning he gave to all the events of his life. This provided a direct experience of the meaning of living a holistic and transpersonal approach to life.
Now on the 100th anniversary of his birth, as I approach another Balsamic Progressed Lunation phase, a new level of the essence of his mentoring emerges. Rudhyar’s prophetic visions can help guide us through current personal and collective crises.
“Events are not the most important factor in your life. What counts is the meaning you give to them, how you use them. A birthchart shows how best to actualize the potentialities of your entire being. It is your celestial name, revealing your unique individuality in this life. Everything in it is right for you, if you accept its essential implication. Astrology can guide you in discovering that meaning, in decoding the symbolic language of the sky- if used with this intention.”
—From a letter to Barbara Somerfield 1972
My notes from Rudhyar’s last public talk, on his 90th birthday, resonate as powerfully today as they did 10 years ago. Approximately 50 people came from all over the world to be with Rudhyar , attend lectures, experience his music and discuss his work. Although he was experiencing physical difficulties and an upheaval in his personal life, he never lost his ability to give meaning to everything that happened ,perceiving every circumstance, no matter how difficult, as part of a process and connecting it to a larger whole. Although physically fragile, a strong transformative palpable energy field emanated from his being through his words. I spent precious days alone, at home with Rudhyar after his 90th birthday conference. We discussed the past and the future and his perspective on the choices I made in 1970 regarding how to best actualize my involvement with his work. He asked that his autobiography be published by my company, without the revisions a publisher suggested. Another publisher he favored for his autobiography rejected it six months earlier as “too personal.” He expressed that he tried to show the reader that despite the many difficult circumstances of his life he viewed it as a process unfolding within a larger whole.
He requested I publish my notes from his last talk, March 24, 1985 in the journal I edited and produced, the National Astrological Society Journal. I offer a small part of his last public message, in honor of Rudhyar’s 100th birthday.
“He who treads the path is in a way alone, and yet not alone. Our implicit divinity, comes to meet us, as we reach towards it. In India it was the guru who was supposed to be a clear lens to give us a feeling, a reflection of what the divine state was. However, if we are individualized enough already, free from biology and our culture, we need not have that kind of physically embodied guru .Yet, we almost always need at first a mentor to dissolve the structure of the traditional culture-mind as well as to introduce us to the basic principles of the new mind organization. Strangely enough the process is easier, when the culture is disintegrating. It creates tension of course, but that tension is necessary to incite and give strength to our will to metamorphosis.This new mind is only a structural foundation. But it is necessary. In my whole life, I have tried to provide such a foundation in terms which could inspire the generation following mine. I have done all I could under difficult circumstances, and now it is your full responsibility. The power that held my whole being as a lens to bring ideas to some focus, will be released when I go. Perhaps, when the person that I appear to be, is gone, it may be easier to tune up to the wholeness of the spirit, to the freed seed .
As it is now, I have stated what I know is my truth, and for me incontrovertibly reality.
—C Dane Rudhyar, 1985, reprinted from NASO Journal Spring1985
With these inspiring words Rudhyar and the participants departed silently.
© Barbara Somerfield 1985, All Rights Reserved
Trained at the Sorbonne in psychology and statistics, he devoted his career to investigating a subject that caused his academic colleagues to attack him. Michel demonstrated courage in confronting scientific prejudice and debating his often vicious critics. He provided the first significant validation of the astrological hypothesis that man is connected to the cosmos and that planetary positions correlate to specific personality traits
Ironically, while his groundbreaking work provided scientific proof for correlations of planetary effects, his research gave little support to many long-held astrological beliefs. His initial work correlated Mars in the zones of power with famous sportsmen. He later connected the Moon in zones of power with writers, Saturn with scientists, and Jupiter with actors and politicians.
Michel possessed enormous discipline, impartiality and integrity, always presenting both his positive and negative results. All his initial research (before computers) was undertaken by gathering and calculating extensive horoscope data by hand: he would canvas Europe to collect this data personally paying the requisite fees to registries. During a visit to his laboratory in Paris, I was overwhelmed viewing thousands of 3" x 5" cards which contained all the data.
In 1989, he was awarded the National Astrological Society's Marc Edmund Jones Award, in recognition of his lifelong achievements, which provided astrologers with significant data to communicate to a skeptical scientific establishment. His untimely death was a tragedy for the whole astrological community. Astrologers owe Dr. Michel Gauquelin an enormous debt. His pioneering research laid the scientific foundation for validating planetary effects.
© Barbara Somerfield 1991
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