top of page
  • Writer's pictureKarey Pohn

The Circle Game

We are always going around in circles—daily the earth rotates on its axis, which we experience as night and day, monthly, the moon revolves around the earth—actually about every 28 days—and we see the different phases of the moon according to its position relative to ourselves and the sun.  Yearly, the earth moves around the sun, and we experience the different seasons.  The planets, each in their own times, do likewise, from speedy Mercury who laps the Sun every 88 days, to farthest Pluto, whose orbit is 248 years.  The Sun is moving, too, against the backdrop of the constellations themselves and the time that the Sun takes for the vernal equinox (i.e., the day, in the northern hemisphere, that the sun crosses above the equator in the spring) to precede around the different signs —known as the precession of the equinoxes—is about 26,000 years; this is referred to as a “Platonic year” or the “great year.”   Each time the vernal equinox moves into a different constellation, we experience what Jung called “a new age.”  At the present time, we are on the way out of the age of Pisces, which began around the time of Christ, to the age of Aquarius, which—depending upon different calculations Jung made—could have already begun in 1997 or could begin as late as 2154. (Simpson, n.d., online)

Long ago, humans recognized the cyclical nature of the world around them. They began to chart the movements of the planets and stars, and even made large monuments, based on very precise calculations, which acted like calendars charting the solstices. Macchu Picchu and Stonehenge are examples.  Astrology could thus be called the science of the eternal return, since it charts these movements.  In India, astrology has been practiced for thousands of years, and other ancient cultures including the Egyptians and Babylonians practiced it long before Ptolemy systematized and codified astrology in its present form in 409AD, when he divided the heavens into 12 sections of 30° each. Ptolemy assigned each section to one of the 12 different constellations that appear more or less along the ecliptic (i.e., the plane that the earth orbits in—an imaginary band in the sky that is near the horizon which marks the sun’s path around the sky during the year, which  runs through the different constellations). These 12 different constellations along the ecliptic make up the zodiac, and are known as the different signs: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, etcetera.

Astrology is one of our oldest scientific arts, and was studied along with its sister science astronomy up until the modern period, when astrology fell into disrepute, because it did not lend itself to objective quantitative verification.  Kepler wrote extensively about astrology and even Newton cast horoscopes.  Laurence Hillman (1999, online) notes that:

Astrology is not a fact-based science it is a meaning-based science and an art form and has therefore more in common with psychology than physics. Astrology exists not in the world of empirical proof but in the imaginal world. It is closer to Jung than to Skinner. The important distinction here is that a discipline does not have to be rigidly quantifiable to be valuable . . . . Therefore, instead of the cause and effect view “the planets influence us,” let us consider a parallel worldview, what Jung would call synchronicity. The central idea here is that the movement of the planets and life on earth are part of the same universe. The universe as a giant system that has within it rhythms, cycles, chain events and so forth. If we look in one place, the movement of the planets, we can understand what is going on in another place, life on earth, at the same time. We are experiencing a parallel, synchronistic unfolding of these events. As well as outer seasons, we have inner seasons. This is what the ancients called as above so below. (p. 4) ∆RC[in1]

Astrology also deals with time in a different way than modern science, with modern science's linear, quantitative leanings. L. Hillman (1999, online) relates that:

During other periods of human existence, there was an additional understanding about time, perhaps best described as the quality of time. In ancient Greece, a distinction existed between Chronos and Kairos. The word chronology derives from Chronos and describes a linear unfolding of time. Kairos, on the other hand, was what you asked your local oracle about: “Is this the right time to start a war? Have a baby? or become king?” you might ask. The pertinent question was: “What kind of time is it?” We still use this concept in our language when we say: “This is not a good day for me” or “I'm having a great time.” These are qualitative statements about time. Somewhere we still hold this awareness that time contains within it different qualities. Astrology is the clock that measures the quality of time. Astrologers can draw a chart for any moment in chronological, linear time and then understand what kind of time it is at that moment. The astrological chart is a representation of the quality of the moment for which it is cast. We have the idea here of a potential for that moment. Kairos in Greek mythology was the personification of opportunity that lay slumbering within a moment . . . . Jung said that "We are born at a given moment, in a given place, and, like vintage years of wine, we have the qualities of the year and of the season in which we are born. Astrology does not lay claim to anything more."  (p. 2)

Astrology is a very precise, rich, complex, multivalent, and multidimensional discipline, which reflects the nature of archetypes, and because astrology is this way, it is “archetypally predictive” and not “concretely predictive,” owing to the fact that the archetypes can express in such a wide variety of ways. ∆RC[in4]

bottom of page