What is Astrological Psychology?

This article was written by Bruno Huber for inclusion in his ‘Astrological Glossary’ and was translated from the German by Agnes Shellens.

Astrological Psychology is a branch of psychology which uses Astrology as a diagnostic tool. It is primarily based on the insights of depth psychology, but also on humanistic and transpersonal psychology. In concept it is closest to Robert Assagioli’s Psychosynthesis. Astrological Psychology starts from the concept of a living, self-regulating and inherently healthy being and not, like most psychologies, from the standpoint of pathology. “You are sick only for as long as you think you are” and to find the causes for our feelings of disease is the central tenet of astrological psychology.

The basic purpose of Astrological Psychology, through its teaching, advisory or therapeutic approach, is to increase our understanding and to stimulate our own thought processes. It is not to dish out ready made recipes, nor to offer easy solutions but, in short, to offer us a useful instrument for self-discovery so that we can learn to accept ourselves for what we are and what we may be, as this will enable us to live freer, happier and more creative lives.

First and foremost it offers a holistic approach to our human condition. This does not just apply to psychological concepts, as it includes our choice of astrological techniques. The methodology of Astrological Psychology therefore has to comply with the prerequisite that all its constituent parts have to work together to form a coherent whole. It is therefore, a method complete in itself, but it does not have to be closed to further developments or refinements. Even so, it was for this very reason unavoidable that some techniques of traditional astrology had to be excluded because, although logical and valid within themselves, they did not fit into the whole picture. For example, techniques not used are those which depict man as being dependent and without free will, plus those which create a “loop” effect and thereby distort the whole picture.

Above all there are the various techniques of foretelling the future, which are largely reductionist, and usually deal with events which are perceived as happening to us from the outside. It is the state of our inner being which determines the nature of our reality, how the available energies affect us, which external events make an impression upon us and how we experience them, evaluate them and respond to them.

This reactive world in Astrological Psychology is expressed and interpreted by the Age Point and Age Progression. This is a steady progression through time which shows how we work our way through our chart and thus, in the course of a life time, experience all the various facets of our character. The choice of techniques employed has been influenced by an important organic principle: Simplification.

Today’s method of using our intellect is predominantly linear and logical, the cause and effect approach which proceeds via precise analytical steps. It has the tendency to divide a whole organism into its individual constituent parts, and thereby leads to fragmentation and over-complication, until in the end we lose sight of both means and aims. A multitude of techniques doesn’t actually help us to arrive at a valid chart interpretation; in fact it only succeeds in making it more difficult.

It is often maintained in astrological thinking and teaching that an interpretation can only be valid when it has been confirmed by a variety of techniques. In Astrological Psychology we think the opposite; if we feel we have to make a number of parallel pronouncements in order to achieve clarity it simply means that we haven’t sufficiently exploited the primary information at our disposal. That is why we state very clearly the basic tenets of our method are those originally discussed by Ptolemy.

In brief, the approach that we have developed over the past 25 years gives a unique insight into one of the major conflict areas of our lives: the differences between the more or less well-meaning efforts of the adult world to mould us to its standards, in juxtaposition to our innate inclinations.

Another useful insight is provided by investigating the tensions and connections between members of our family. Furthermore we can understand the role models we formed for ourselves. The nature and integrity of our threefold personality (body, mind and feelings) is moulded in childhood through the way in which the child experiences the various roles of mother, father and child. In the hands of a qualified counsellor Astrological Psychology can be a real tool for self-awareness and personal growth.