So this is a follow-up post to Astrology is Not New Age. Because I realize there is more to those points...
I think a clarification is this: the use and practise of astrology does not require any specific belief system.
Astrologers most certainly practise astrology from their own personal perspectives. This is something people should keep in mind. There is no such thing as purely objective astrological analysis. But there is no particular belief system required to use/practise astrology.
What I come into contact with quite often is the merging of astrology with New Age beliefs, and what I'd like to see is an acknowlegement of this.
A lot of people take issue with the term "New Age" and argue that these are actually ancient metaphysical ideas, not New Age. As I've said before, there is little "new" in New Age. People are using old concepts but putting their own New Agey spin on them for use and application in today's society.
My problem comes when people do not look at (and acknowledge) the roots of their own belief systems and promote their personal beliefs as universal truth.
I ran into some examples of this on that same astrology message board, and, again, the fact that people are arguing these points shows a need for clarification, I think.
There was a poster who came from a New Age/metaphysical perspective who was arguing that the "Seven Rays" was a universal concept. Again...metaphysical/New Age system, perhaps. Universal concept? I don't think so. Universal concepts go beyond any particular belief system. Hence the term "universal."
Another poster argued that the idea of "ascended masters" who guide us Earthlings to enlightenment had nothing to do with New Age but was basically a commonly held truth.
Poster: "So Jesus from Nazareth was invented by New Age?"
Willow: "The idea of Jesus as one of a group of "ascended masters" guiding us Earthlings to enlightenment is, sure."
Poster: "You believe Jesus from Nazareth was operating all by himself? What about his disciples? What about his mom?"
Willow: "I don't believe in Jesus of Nazareth. Or his disciples. Or his Mom. This is the point I'm making...no belief system at all is required to use and practise astrology. Rather, no specific belief system is required to use and practise astrology."
Poster: "What the F* are we doing here anyway on this planet, if there's no such thing as striving for enlightenment? And if there IS such a striving, then why would it be so unheard of that there would be a group of people who already have mastered this plane? And who are also willing to guide us? Just imagine us without all this guidance..."
Willow: "Those are your particular beliefs...not commonly held universal truths."
Poster: "So you just live and breath without striving for anything?"
Willow: "I'm not sure how you came to that conclusion...Because I don't hold your beliefs, I don't strive for anything? Seems like a bit of a leap."
(Disclaimer: I was talking there about the beliefs that have been built up around Jesus/the idea of Jesus being one of the New Age's ascended masters, not about the man's existence or non-existence.)
I run into this quite often - cases in which people don't recognize their own belief system and promote it as commonly or universally held. As in, everyone believes this! It's just the truth!
This was a big part of Pluto in Sagittarius - getting to the root of and examining belief systems. Purging what was past its prime and no longer personally true or meaningful. As a transition point between Pluto in Sagittarius and Pluto in Capricorn (retrograde Pluto in Capricorn is heading back to 0 degrees), we now look at how structures (also hierarchies) are set up related to those belief systems and apply the Plutonic process to them.
Under the context of this being the end of the Piscean Era, I believe we have to look at spiritual hierarchy and structures, as well.
The idea of spiritual hierarchy (an example of which is the idea of ascended masters guiding their followers to enlightenment) is something that I think is/was prominent in the Piscean Age, in general. The past 2,000 odd years...
So this is not something strictly related to the current New Age movement as it has come about in the last 200 years or so, but it is a foundational tenet of the New Age movement.
As far as there not being a system of belief within the current New Age movement (another common argument):
As I've said, I can generally tell if someone is coming from a New Age belief system within a minute or two of speaking with them. There are commonalities.
Again...this is my own personal experience as an astrologer who is not New Age coming into contact with those who hold these ideas/beliefs, to whatever degree. I have been clear that I have problems with the New Age movment and what I see as its effect on individuals' spirituality. I'm not looking for agreement/disagreement from anyone...just putting out my own perspective on my own blog. There. That should be enough of a disclaimer, no?
One message board poster who argued from a New Age/spiritually hierarchical perspective (but didn't recognize it as such) gave me some fodder for this. He was basically arguing all around my main points, trying to wear me down.
"I'm offering you a chance to reevaluate your notions of Astrology, and in doing so I am challenging my notions of what denotes patience and what denotes foolishness...," he posted.
Perfect starting point. Condescending as all hell, too.
1) This is one of those common things within current establishment New Age - to want to "help people open up to the truth." IE. Their truth.
Along the same lines: helping people to "check their perceptions" or "repattern their beliefs" or "reevaluate their notions" or "get to the next level." The root idea being that whoever holds a differing perspective is just sadly misguided and needs the "more enlightened" New Ager's patience and enlightened words of wisdom to realize the errors of their ways. There is a hovering, indirect, wearing-you-down sort of energy as they attempt to increase your enlightenment level by osmosis, I suppose.
2) They are taught that they are in "spiritual service" to people of lower enlightenment/consciousness levels and the proselytizing and inappropriate wearing people down is justified in this way.
3) Subtle yet insidious promotion of whatever their particular program of thinking may be - a book, video, seminar, guru, ideology, location/country. Common example - The Secret, positive thinking pushing, love and light/bliss, "transcendence" - of ego, duality, darkness, whatever, "manifesting abundance," "creating your own reality," purification, cleansing, etc.
4) Passive aggressiveness and subtle verbal abuse when you make it clear that you have differing opinions/aren't interested. It's very common to be called negative, closed, not on their level, not open to the truth...or sometimes it's something more subtle like a passo aggro tone. (Passive aggressiveness is huge in the New Age.)
5) Preoccupation with everyone thinking as they do, getting along, love and light, "oneness," being "open." Rejection of anything that doesn't fit this model (including all critique) as being of a "lower dimension," "lower consciousness level," or "density." "You're just not there yet."
6) Belief that all they need to do is continue to promote their way of thinking and eventually the person will come around to their understanding of things. "Oneness consciousness." There is a belief that "increased consciousness" is inevitable from being exposed to these New Age ideas/beliefs.
7) Belief in spiritual levels/levels of enlightenment, culminating in becoming an ascended master and transcending the Earth plane. This is where all the "getting to the next level/dimension" stuff comes from.
8) A big old helping of spiritual materialism - practise of spirituality involves the purchase of books, videos, lectures, sessions, retreats, workshops, trips to Sedona, crystals, blessed items. Often there is a sort of hierarchical grappling and competition related to who knows it all, who knows the "new thing." A tendency to faddishness.
9) Spiritual ego - a belief that people will or should treat them in a special sort of way due to their impressive higher spiritual level.
10) Anger and rationalizing when people exert their boundaries.
11) A focus on transcending the problems on Earth by reaching a consciousness level "beyond" them.
12) Belief that people experiencing problems and difficult situations are bringing it on themselves with a negative and lower consciousness level. This is mostly due to the proliferation of The Secret and its ideology, as far as I can tell.
So yeah, I can't help but think, if there is no common thread, no common belief system running through much of the New Age movement, how am I able to predict with uncanny accuracy how these interactions are going to go down? Most of them really do follow a formula.