Astrological Psychology, Western Esoterism and the Transpersonal
by Sue Lewis
The astrological psychology of Swiss pioneers Bruno & Louise Huber is now widely known and well documented in the English language. In this book, Sue Lewis examines the subject over a broad canvas, encompassing esotericism, astrology, psychology, philosophy and even the frontiers of modern science. In the process she shows the Hubers as part of a living stream in the development of human ideas, indeed at the leading edge of their time.
Sue is well qualified for the task, from her long interest in astrology and astrological symbolism, her involvement in the world of astrological psychology and her more recent Masters degree in Western Esotericism.
The result is a comprehensively referenced work that will be of use to future scholars. It is also a readable text giving an overview of where ‘astrological psychology’ fits in to its wider context.
Sue writes as both ‘seeker and scholar’ and in part of the book she courageously shows how astrological psychology has helped in her own process of development.
Colour Paperback, 212 pages. First published 2015.
Review by Joyce Hopewell
Something which often confounds conventional and traditional astrologers is the validity and depth of astrological psychology, developed in Switzerland by Bruno and Louisa Huber. I have heard it described in the past as “not proper astrology” and “not real astrology” by established and well-known astrologers. Fear and ignorance of the new, the innovative and the groundbreaking can make people erect defensive barricades, so Sue Lewis’ book is a welcome study of how and where astrological psychology fits into the astrological world as an important part of the development of human ideas.
Sue examines the place of astrological psychology alongside astrology, western esotericism, psychology, philosophy and science. Her canvass is broad, with each discipline having its own place yet remaining interconnected with the others.
The book is well-referenced and extensively researched, and is written in a clear, readable style which makes the content interesting and accessible. For readers who may not have heard of some of the sources, there is a wealth of footnotes and an extensive index. Huber students and those already familiar with astrological psychology will relish the section on the Hubers’ work with Assagioli in the late 1950’s/early 1960’s. The differences between astrological psychology and psychological astrology are covered, outlining how these two approaches are not, as is sometimes misunderstood, one and the same thing.
On page 49 she says:
Some scholars have aligned [Liz] Greene’s psychological approach with Ficino and Neoplatonic astrology without extending their interest to Huber. It could be argued that Huber astrologers have contributed to the neglect of their branch of astrology in scholarly circles by emphasising only the experiential and holistic nature of their work. This volume shows that behind its conception and practice lies an esoteric tradition that is psychologically transformative, spiritually sensitive, culturally mature, and of ongoing relevance in the world today.
Sue explores western esotericism such as alchemy, Kaballah and theosophy, placing astrological psychology alongside these disciplines. Discussing the alchemical position, she says:
Transmutation, the fourth compulsory characteristic, is an alchemical term, meaning metamorphosis, or rebirth following pursuit of an illuminative path to higher knowledge. This transformation can be achieved over time, whilst studying for a Diploma in Astrological Psychology that involves extensive self-examination. There are specific exercises both for shifting emphasis from the ego planets, Saturn, Moon, and Sun to their transpersonal or spiritual counterparts, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, and for alleviating stressed planets through a process of compensation, sublimation, and transformation.
What I particularly liked about the book was the inclusion of charts, in full colour, relevant to the section being discussed. In her chapter ‘The Genesis of Huber Astrology’ the charts of Bruno, Louisa and Assagioli are all included.
In the chapter on ‘Moon Node Astrology, Karma and the Three Charts’ Sue offers two detailed interpretations. The first is that of Professor Alan Deyermond, a colleague and friend, and the second is her own. Here Sue courageously and generously shares an in-depth analysis of her own three charts to illustrate her life experiences, her significant relationships and their evolving patterns, which take her on a personal journey of self-understanding and enlightenment.
The book looks back into history to consider astrology and esotericism in ancient Mesopotamia, and looks forward to 21st century science, astrological research, to the transpersonal and to the place of astrological psychology within this stream.
Astrological Psychology, Western Esotericism, and the Transpersonal is an academic and well-researched book, and it includes the nitty gritty of chart interpretation illustrating how and where the Huber method contributes to the larger Jupiterian whole. It is a book for students and scholars alike and is a valuable addition to the already published material available on astrological psychology.
Joyce Hopewell, Conjunction 63, 2015[/su_expand]
Review by Ghislaine Adams[su_expand height=200]
This is a wonderful gem of a book that delves into the historical, philosophical and spiritual roots of Astrological Psychology and casts the light on the esoteric meaning that underpins the conceptual approach of the discipline of Astrological Psychology or as it is widely referred to as Huber astrology.
Sue has most effectively combined her in-depth understanding of the principles of Astrological Psychology with her extensive knowledge of Western Esotericism to show the rightful place of Astrological Psychology within the esoteric field.
Whilst I feel that the book qualifies as an academic book, its structure is straightforward and easy to follow. This, in itself, is an accomplishment considering the complexity of the material explored and the extent of the research into the various esoteric threads that make up Western Esotericism. In Chapter 1, we are given the opportunity to look back on the birth of Astrological Psychology through the lives of Louise and Bruno Huber and their personal connection to Roberto Assagioli, father of Psychosynthesis, together with the influence of Dane Rudhyar, Carl Jung and Alice Bailey amongst others. Of particular interest is the excellent exposition of the ‘genetic’ differences between the Hubers’ Astrological Psychology and Liz Greene’s Psychological Astrology that some of us may not have been fully conscious of.
In Chapters 2 and 3 we uncover the place that Astrological Psychology occupies in the Western Esotericism tradition as we are led to identify the AP thread within the esoteric tapestry: the five levels of the chart as representative of our spiritual make-up expressing itself through our human incarnation, imagery and the specific use of colour, the importance of geometric (aspect) patterns, the dynamic house curve as symbolic of natural rhythms as well as the use of the three charts to facilitate our process of self-growth.
Chapter 4 focuses on the use of the 3 charts and how the nodal chart acts as a backbone to the natal chart and the house chart offers us resources for the refinement and manifestation of our present potential in line with our soul’s purpose. In particular, the author presents us with a very personal and courageous account of her journey to health through the interpretation of her 3 charts that gives us a strong flavour of the healing potential of Astrological Psychology alongside therapy.
In the final chapter, Sue considers contemporary trends in science and spirituality towards a more holistic approach to understanding the interconnectedness of all life. Her closing words remind us of the credentials of Astrological Psychology with its roots in the wisdom of ancient civilisations and its applications firmly bedded in the current practices of depth psychology that combine healing and spiritual development.
This is a very brief synopsis of the book’s contents. It is a must-read for all AP graduates and students and anyone who is truly interested in the deeper meaning of astrology as a resource towards Spiritual Development and Knowledge of the Higher Worlds.
Above all, this book has made me feel deeply humble in response to a growing awareness that as an astrological psychologist, I am directly linked to a long line of spiritual teachers and mentors that continue to inspire me. In turn, I hope that as an APA tutor, I can inspire others to delve into this infinite and magical world.
Sue has done us a great service in promoting Astrological Psychology for what it is and where it belongs.
Thank you Sue! I cannot recommend this book too highly.
Ghislaine Adams, Conjunction 63, 2015[/su_expand]