Student perspective on an important book

This post by Tatyana Caidheann gives a student’s perspective on Sue Lewis’s recent book, amplifying the reviews that appeared in the recent issue of Conjunction.

An important book that put the content of the diploma course into context for me.

I was lucky enough to have Sue Lewis as a tutor throughout the Huber diploma course. Her insight into the Huber method and precisely percipient comments on coursework opened up my understanding both of my personal psychology and of intricacies in this innovative approach that I found difficult to get my head around. I enjoyed the course but, for me, there was always something missing that made me feel as though I hadn’t been able to connect emotionally to the content. This didn’t make sense because I am thrilled by astrology and psychology as a tool of potential so I felt somewhat unfooted and as though I had failed. I am reasonably well read in theosophical philosophy, and spiritual psychology and practice, but what I was learning seemed dry and, at times, too pat in its attempt to make everything fit into a coherent structure. It didn’t help that the Huber books, I found, lacked ‘colour’ and so didn’t really excite or engage me. I just couldn’t turn this into a living tool for transformation and I wondered if this was why Huber astrological psychology had not received as much recognition as it might.

ape_frontAnd then, I read Sue Lewis’ book.

‘Astrological Psychology, Western Esotericism and the Transpersonal’ is an excellent book in so many ways. The placing of the glossary of glyphs, models and seed thoughts at the beginning of the book proper is inspired. It immediately places the salient points of Astrological Psychology before the reader, keeping AP in mind as the focus of the book, even when it is not explicitly mentioned. I began to feel the importance of the Huber work in a way that I hadn’t before.

At first, the book ‘AP, WE & the TP’ offers a fascinating discourse of the history of Western esotericism, defining its major routes as it travelled through Kabbalah, Hermeticism, Goethe, Ficino and on towards Theosophy and its offshoots. Sue fluidly interweaves a broad historical sweep of occult and astrological development that makes clear, for me for the first time, the lineage that the Hubers belong to. Threads in subjects that fascinate me are drawn together, placing the Hubers in their rightful place in the history and development of astrology and revealing them as peers to some of the accepted giants of the spiritual/esoteric fields of the last century. I know of the Huber connections with Assagioli and Alice Bailey’s work with the rays but now I could see that rather than passively reworking others’ ideas into astrological terms, Bruno and Louise were separately, actively and spiritually participating in the incoming zeitgeist as well.

Through Sue Lewis’ explanation of what had come before, it becomes easier to see how the Huber’s work was such an original and necessary contribution because it re-visioned how an astrologer might use a chart. For the Hubers, the birth chart was an actual representation of the individual. They realised intuitively that it symbolised the energetic resonance of all that a person was and could become, and so they painstakingly applied themselves to working out a system that responded accurately to the psychological experience of life rather than actual events. They created charts that could give immediate access to the psyche and tools to interpret an individual’s spiralling potential. With their son, Michael, they explored alternate and topological ways of viewing the skies above us at birth and came up with the house chart, which indicates how the environment presses upon us, for better and worse, and the nodal chart, which offers tantalising glimpses of the gifts and karmic impediments that have brought us just so into this particular life. Most importantly though, the Hubers, like Dane Rudhyar and Liz Greene, abandoned the fated pronouncements practised in earlier astrology and stressed that all things in the chart, however challenging we find them, are gifts for growth and evolution, under our control to the extent we chose. In short, Bruno and Louise Huber, as much as anyone else in this field but especially in a technical sense, presented a whole new foundational toolkit for astrology.

In the course of my studies, I had really missed the mythical and mystical story-telling that I loved in Liz Greene’s work and, honestly, I would say that it is in this area that I had found the Huber approach most disconcerting. Where was Jupiter, mighty, wide-seeing, loud-thundering, cloud-gatherer of the dazzling bolt? I realised whilst reading AP, WE & the TP that I had been expecting Astrological Psychology to reveal the essence of the God(desse)s in their glory, filtered through the human experience, and so I had been unwittingly disappointed by the psychological terminology. It was a revelation and relief to see that I had been yearning for something that wasn’t on offer and yet had overlooked what was. No wonder I felt off-kilter. Sue clarifies so beautifully the points of departure for Greene and Huber that it conversely increased my appreciation for what I had learned in the Huber diploma course. She addresses, too, my quibble with Jupiter being baldly reduced to a function and allied with the element of earth, and, although it still makes me uneasy, I feel more prepared to sit with it a while longer.

Most importantly, this book has been a shape sorter, putting what I know discretely into a synthetic perspective. I realise now I have an applicable method, structured on the basis of diligent and rigorous research, that is largely free of subjective interpretation unlike the looser, archetypal approach that I thought I preferred.

Since reading this book, I have returned to my perusal of charts, invigorated with a refreshed outlook of what, how, why and where to apply what I know and a confidence in synthesising it. This is not only because of my broad realisations as shared above but as much because of the touching chapter on Moon Node Astrology and its practical application. Sue’s fond interpretation of her professor and her softly-spoken untangling of her own personal history showcases Huber innovation in action, highlighting the emotional insight available to the deft astrologer, who is using this method.

Thanks to this book, Astrological Psychology has, at last, become my tool and friend, leaving me to bring my own unique perspective to the art of chart interpretation, a very comfortable place to find myself. It is a fair and sympathetic treatment of a subject I thought I knew but was delighted to discover from a different, higher, more inclusive vista. I liked it very much.