ASTROLOGY' S SUBJECTIVE AND PROJECTIVE CHARACTER

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What is the cause of effect of astrology, what is its way of functioning? On which mental - or physical - or psychological mechanisms is it grounded? Why do statistical tests to prove it always fail?
My thesis of astrology as being primarily of a subjective and projective nature may sound provocative. Yet, in the following I list a series of points or hints to epistemologically support this.

A. SUBJECTIVITY AND INDIVIDUALITY

1. Geocentrism

In astrology the Planets and the Zodiac signs have always been related to the Earth . Historically, in astronomy the Wittenbergians (Melanchthon et al) were the first advocates of Heliocentrism, because they were discontented with the existing bad ephemerides. But when they interpreted a birth chart astrologically they didn't obey the Copernican paradigm shift (later Kepler didn't, either). Earth kept on being used as the astrologers' point of reference; it remained in the centre of their experiental view of the world. In astrology's explicitly geocentric point of view the sun still rises in the morning and sets in the evening, the sky still goes round the earth - just according to subjective impression. For Western astrology's Tropical classification of the Zodiac signs only the Earth's ecliptic positions are relevant (the equinoxes, solstices, etc. are derived from the sun-earth-relationship) - the "objective" (Sidereal) coordinates of the Fixed Stars are not considered.the topocentric view

2. Topocentrism

All the astrological schools' different house systems are related to the exact terrestrial location where the event or birth investigated took place. Though the cusps of the succedent and cadent houses differ from one system to another, the main axes are the same (horizontally: Ascendant vs. Descendant, vertically: Medium Coeli vs. Imum Coeli). In any case, the observer's visual angle is a local one, astrology's point of reference is regionally specific. Whatever house system you prefer, the planets' placement into the houses depends on the exact spot on earth's surface, where the event in question actually did or does happen...

3. Psychological congenialities

Astrology's statements aren't factual, they aren't - scientifically, "objectively" - measurable. Astrology's symbols are describing an inner reality, an inner view of the world - i.e., as we individually see and experience things.
Speaking mythologically, it isn't so important to the gods of fate, whether they get an active or passive realisation of a constellation. It's an event's psychic value, its subjective and emotional contents that count - not its outer, concrete, physical reality. We shouldn't understand astrology and its messages in a literal way - but symbolically (the Greek word sym-ballein meaning 'putting things together', i.e. connecting the conscious and the unconscious).
A chart's main message is about an individual's particular view of the world; in the first place it's telling us about his specific thoughts and feelings - a birth chart is not directly telling us what this person actually is doing or how somebody else is seeing him . This is why astrology's psychological statements are so often felt to be true, whereas its prognostic (event-related) ones usually fail. Planetary transits aren't objective in a factual sense, either: Even if connected with some outer incident, transits only indicate the occurrence's subjective meaning to the person affected; they are more like 'companions', not the 'causes' of a potential inner development.

B. SENSE AND MEANING
(some mythological implications and methodological consequences)

1. Astrology as individual mythology

a. The modern philosophy of constructivism puts the subjective perspective this way: every person builds his own reality or specific image of the world. We don't "discover" all the things existing outside, but our mind and perception actively "constructs" them...
This view of human consciousness doesn't deny the outer world's givenness; yet, the emphasis is on the single person's "subjective" observations and interpretations of the data received. Thus, an individual "cosmos" (conception of the world) needn't be "true" in a scientific, "objective" sense; it might just have been imagined or heard of.

b. Myths are narrations of old; they are deeply moving stories and teachings full of sense and meaning, telling us the purpose and themes of our earthly life. Astrology actually is an extensive mythology - just think of the dominant role the planets, which are named after Greek gods after all, play in it. In view of hermeneutics, the star signs and the planets are bearers or concentrates of meaning; they aren't effective by themselves (as heavenly bodies), but by way of the meaning attributed to them as symbols. So, consequently we ourselves have given the starry sky its significance. It's not the so-called real and factual that counts in astrology's narratives - but the contents perceived and ascribed to the constellations. (Note: In the Eastern traditions of India and China these astrological attributions were quite different; basically, every culture developed an astrology of its own - one that worked best for its particular needs and desires.)

2. Relevancy of sense

Astrology classically is a tool to find out about one's fate and destiny. There is no way of realizing any truth - however subjective, temporarily valid or "constructed" - in an individual's chart without consideration of existential themes. Questions concerning the "why" and "wherefore" are the main reasons for a client to see an astrologer; these people feel lost in their lives, they are searching for an orientation. In summary, teleological themes are intricately woven into astrology's fabric.
That's why astrology's statistics - whose "significances" don't consider this central point - regularly fail.
In the modern psychological-astrological view the symbols used are like traffic-lights or signposts - indicating where a person should go to, which kind of quality has to be developed by him at a certain moment of time. For this qualitative perspective science's quantitative and measuring methods of "validation" are simply inadequate. They basically belong to a different paradigm, laying no importance on sense or values (scrutinizing the hardware instead of the software)...
Normally, the people involved get neither a feedback nor an answer to their fundamental questions about life. In this destinational regard, the whole "scientifc" procedures are irrelevant. In Fortune's eyes, those legitimizing astro-tests are just a shallow amusement of narrow-gauge sceptics maniacal for superficial "proofs" (the ancient goddess Fortuna not being bothered with this type of ego-game). With a statistical validation there is neither room for 'higher realities' nor for the metaphysics or finalities. There is also no space for an astrologer's intuition and holistic perception. Moreover, in the huge quantities of data processed by a statistician, all singularities and peculiarities - which comprise the world in astrology's view - are systematically annihilated. And the more data the researcher can collect, i.e. the more he is able to exclude and eliminate individuality, the higher is his scientific esteem.
Statistics inevitably reduce the astrological symbols' width and fullness. Their characteristic complexity and wholeness gets lost as well as the personal context which is their point of reference and which is so important when we are dealing with existential topics like death or healing. In any case, the idea of cosmic chance governing the world is contradictory to astrology's axioms. Einstein said “God doesn’t roll dice”. Statistics are based upon the supposition of accidental distributions everywhere, upon the concept of a fundamentally senseless and Darwinistic universe. Every act of statistical testing is implicitly grounded on this paradigmatic idea of a chaotic cosmos - that's why, by the way, astrologers should not expect any supporting statement from that corner ...
Goethe put it this way: "A fact is only important, if it has meaning..." And Carl Jung remarked: "The statistical method is based on the presupposition of the existence of continuous and uniform objects. Yet, the phenomenon of synchronicity" - hence, we say, the birth chart and its meaning - "is a qualified, individual effect, which is ruined by statistical procedures."
Jung's theory of synchronicity provides an explanation of astrology's way of functioning: "Synchronicity" is a non-causal principle, mainly based on simultaneity and sense. In this concept of an Unus Mundus (One World) all the events happening at the same time are seen as interrelated; persons and events including planetary constellations occurring simultaneously are seen to be spiritually connected to one another. In this view, a being's character and destiny is "reflected" not caused by the stars, especially in the decisive moment of its beginning/ birth; there is an inner correspondence or coincidence between the "Above" and the "Below". In this oracular view astrology's language is essentially a coding of time's metaphysical quality or contents; its symbols are ciphers of the peculiarities of a specific moment.

3. Truth and objectivity

On closer examination, astrology is not a natural science but a metaphysical or spiritual one. In it sense and meaning are crucial. Now, finding or characterizing an event's or person's specific sense is essentially an inter-subjective act; attributing mythological features to an individual or to the circumstances encountered by him is intricately interwoven with his social context. The meaning of astrology's symbols has originally been determined in a collective or communal way. In the counselling setting this meaning is "found again" or revitalized, the "sky's semiotics" (Ertel) are decoded by way of communication; the constellations' contents get "reconstructed" (Schlegel) during the counselling dialogue. In their discourse the astrologer and the chart's owner discuss and finally agree upon the exact inner meaning of the topic in question, i.e. the genotype or archetype lying behind a characteristic behavior or some outer event (the phenotype) discussed. By way of amplification, in oscillating between the symbols' abstract and their concrete levels, a person's or situation's subjective truth gradually becomes illuminated and clear. In this view of a meaning-permeated cosmos, astrology is pretty close to the humanities (the fine arts of literature, history, etc.), especially to hermeneutics and phenomenology . A hundred years ago, Wilhelm Dilthey used the terms "explaining" vs. "comprehending" in order to tell the difference between the natural and the humane sciences: "we explain nature, yet the soul has to be comprehended..." It was his conviction that only idiographic methods such as case studies, which are oriented toward the particular individual, are really able to grasp a human being's peculiarities; a nomothetic (natural) science (searching for universal laws) or a statistical approach can't achieve that. In historical biographies and in literature primarily the unique and special aspects of human beings are sought for and analysed. Only in the final steps of such research processes all the "subjectivities" get generalized.
Contrary to the natural sciences, in the humanities the object of study also needs some inner involvement of the scientist. Epistemologically, just holding back your feelings during the processes going on isn't productive there at all. In order to proceed in comprehending his object, the researcher must permit himself personally to be moved and touched, especially regarding his own faults and weaknesses; he shouldn't stay totally reserved ("neutral") all the time. The Italian occultist Evola put it this way: "From the point of view of initiation, to know something doesn't just mean to think intellectually about an object outside - but to really existentially be it. Thus every act of knowing becomes an act of experiencing; there is no academic knowledge apart from being..."
The philosophical schools or metaphysical disciplines of phenomenology (Husserl), hermeneutics (Dilthey) and astrology are handling subjective emotional complexes of human beings emphatically - in order finally to transcend them, in order to extract their inner sense and meaning. In these arts the scientist tries to find himself in his object - the natural sciences' distant and sterile attitude there being inadequate. Consequently, astrology's instance of validation has to be the result of dialogue and agreement between the people involved (cf. Lockowandt) one; the interpretative discourse or communicative process between the researcher (subject) and his research object is central and significant to this way of finding the truth.
But what about classical objectivity? Are the natural sciences really objective at all? Can't we somehow rehabilitate subjectvity?
Ultimately every act of knowing is a subjective one, as Kant found out; there is no direct access to objectivity. Every so-called objective thing is constituted by subjects, there is no object without a subject (realizing it). So true objectivity is an illusion, an impossible thing. When we perceive something, our act of perception is based upon a field of givenness and evidence that is presupposed but not investigated by the positivist sciences. Thus in a certain sense we generate an "object" by way of our "knowing" or remembering similar things. Even when we are using measuring instruments, the observer's capability of interpreting the "facts" is needed; in observing things we always see them in the light of already existing thought structures and guidelines. What science somewhat bombastically calls "objectivity", is usually just an "inter-subjectivity", i.e.some kind of agreement of the scientific community on how the empirical data (the "facts") given should be interpreted, some sort of mixture or making an average of individual subjectivities... In science every observation or factuality is mediated, too; all empirical materials basically are manufactured by the hypotheses put forward - and always judged and validated in the light of existing theories.
Even Einstein emphasized the primacy of theory over the empirics: "It's your theory that is deciding what you are able to observe..." Quantum physics and the problem of locality show that on the border of science, where the frontiers of time and space are blurred, you can't totally separate the observer and the observed. The Cartesian divide between matter and spirit (res cogitans vs. res extensa), the methodological split between the subject (the investigator or setting) and the object (the examined) there cannot be maintained any longer, the tight classical causal-mechanistic categories have been overcome. In the end, even modern physics are only able to control and standardize human subjectivity - they can't extinguish it...
A dictum of Schopenhauer goes: "The outside world is in the same way subjective as the inside world. For it's because of his fundamental and comprehensive unity and identity with nature and cosmos that man is able to realize things"...
anima Mundi (Fludd)Schopenhauer refers to Plato's ancient idea of an anima mundi (world soul). In this concept there exists an inner connectedness of all created beings on the soul level. Two thousand years after Plato Kepler still used this medium or fluidum in explaining astrology's efficacy: "Man possesses an innate harmonious instinct. By this he senses (subconsciously) a square, trine, etc..."
So: Isn't any objectivity possible in astrology? In the humanities, in philosophy and in psychology they sometimes talk of an "objective spirit" (cf. Dilthey and Spranger; the term was originally coined by Hegel). This "objective spirit" consists of the human mind's overall, general categories or constants - comparable to Plato's universal ideas and Jung's archetypes of the collective unconscious (which, by the way, were called by him "objective psyche"). Now, according to Plato every act of knowing actually is an act of remembering; Consequently, the spiritual sciences in their enquiries try to find again the relevant abstract (metaphysical) structures and contents behind the facts visible. They are searching for the hidden patterns and regularities (the "objective") behind the phenomena observed, tracing a concrete personal manifestation back to "eternal" ideas. The difference between this type of objectivity and the one pursued in the natural sciences is that it never loses contact with its roots, its starting point. The spiritual sciences don't deny their living, human, subjective point of reference...
In a similar manner in astrology's art of interpretation there is no other way than starting with the biographical, i.e. the individual, subjective facts given. Anything suprapersonal or "eternal" can only be reached by gradually encircling a specific problem or topic. Yet, guided by the analogies and associations rising, in this procedure things successively become clearer. A person's or situation's subjective elements gradually are transcended: by way of the astrologer's patiently and continuously alternating the abstract (symbolic) level with the one of physical manifestation. This is how in the counselling situation so-called "subjective evidence" is taking place: the chart's owner feels struck or "hit" by the astrologer's words, he feels recognized, understood and supported - because some "higher" element of his personal meaning and destination has been touched, because the client's specific themes have been placed into some greater, more comprehensive, archetypal context.
What does astrology itself say to the issue of subjectivity vs. objectivity?
Immanent in astrology, there is a dialectical relationship or polarity between Quadrant Two (mundanely Cancer, Moon, etc./ the "subjective") and Quadrant Four (Capricorn, Saturn, etc./ the "objective"). Temporarily concentrating on the subjective mode of consciousness (of feelings, emotions, and so on) doesn't mean that this more or less arbitrary condition will permanently be so. Not at all; in astrology's model of the world subjectivity is a fundamentally indispensable, yet in the end transient mode of being. The astrologer Doebereiner says a lot about the necessity of intensively "living-through" the present time (of Quadrant Two) in order to arrive successfully at the truth or universal validity of Quadrant Four. You have to struggle painfully - before you finally overcome all your worries and personal involvements; only then can you tear yourself away from the inner world and reach the realm of distant overview.
In Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology man's subjectivity functions as kind of a sluice to objectivity, too. In Rogers' or Gendlin's attention to feelings, in Gestalt therapy, in Grof''s katharthic Holotropic Breathing, etc. you have to trespass your "inner hell", so to speak; in a catalytic way you have to confront yourself with your drives and needs, your yearnings and addictions - in order ultimately to get some distance from them, to abstract from them and become potentially free and "objective". The inner "truths" found thereafter are always the result of intensive experiences lived through. Consequently, all the practical methods of Transpersonal and Analytical (Jungian) Psychology start with the person's inner world; subjectivity is their entrance gate. Yet, in the psychodynamic processes taking place, by concentrating on a client's subjective emotions finally archetypal, "objective" truths are reached! Only by penetrating an emotional problem or burden in depth can some kind of transcendency or the "self" be realized...
The same is true for an astrological interpretation: Before we can reach any objective level, we must first "dive" into subjectivity; at the beginning of every counselling we have to do a thorough anamnesis, we have to gain an impression of the main facts and memories of the individual's biography. Only by intensively and emphatically going into the subjective details we can 'transfigure' them, i.e. put them into the context of the person's superior myth.

C. PROJECTION

1. Definition

Projection is a psychoanalytic term. It means unconsciously viewing parts of your own soul on the "screen" of the outside world, i.e. you perceive them embodied in other persons. The proceedings can be compared to a slide projector - which shows pictures from your own psyche! A typical feature of a projection taking place is the blindness towards one's own personal characteristics, which are obvious to other people, though: you look at a mote in another's eye, but don't notice the log that is in your own eye...
In his late years Carl Jung explained astrology's mechanism of functioning this way, as being primarily based on projections: in the constellations, the planets, etc. we'd "see" contents of the soul, as it were. "The signs of the Zodiac are mythological creations of man; he gave them their names... Leo, for example, doesn't look like a lion, but it was called so by man because of the sun's devastating effect during this time of the year." He also said that it's typical of projections that people project what is close to them onto something far distant such as the stars.

2. Archetypes (what is being projected?)

The ancients 'painted' their inner processes and mythological figures on the starry sky, so to say. They saw primordial images of the world soul, in Plato's terminology 'the first principles', on the firmament - images that originally descended from the collective psyche. Actually, by recognizing the zodiacal signs human perception (geocentrically) is connecting the star clusters' scattered points to a whole - this grouping or mental construction process being directed by the unconscious. Our ancestors believed they'd see angelic or animal beings in the sky - which, from a modern, psychological viewpoint, originated from the depths of their souls. Though all the stories and tales about the stars created by the different cultures on earth may be called illusionary and pure products of fantasy, the energies and contents sensed out there basically do exist; they are quite real - as factors of the individual soul and the world soul; for you can only project something onto outside beings that already exists inwardly ...
In his research about myths and dreams Carl Jung found out that we have the same primordial patterns of experiencing and behavior all over the world. He called these fundamental psychic principles "archetypes": powerful collective images, which are basic to all "subjective" manifestations. (Another term of his was "objective psyche" - comparable to Hegel's "objective spirit"...) According to Jung, the archetypes are the constituting instincts or "organs" of the human soul; they organize our inner life. Because of them all the basic emotional processes and dynamics are almost identical from one individual to another and are taking place in a specific sequence.
To the single person or the ego the archetypes seem to be beings independent from him; they can be fascinating, instructing or frightening - like gods. They are polar (good and bad), changing, manifold and ambiguous. Epistemologically, the archetypes are more like empty forms which yet have to be filled with actual contents and life by the individual in a concrete situation. Quite similar to the astrological principles, they are mediated and grasped by human consciousness in the form of symbols - which, if they are living and true, will always set something in motion, i.e. have a catalyzing effect within our souls, transform our libido.
To summarize: In the view of Depth Psychology the planets and zodiacal signs are archetypes, i.e. universal factors or determinants of the psyche - existing in all cultures such as the "hero" and the "trickster" under different names.

3. Kepler and the archetype

Three hundred years before Jung it was Johannes Kepler, who already used the term "archetype" in a truly astrological sense. To him an inter-planetary geometry or constellation's archetype was sort of a 'resonance pattern', a pre-existing disposition in every man, reflecting the current vibrations or harmonies of the world (mundus). Standing in a Pythagorean and Neo-Platonic tradition, he saw "God's thoughts" or the primordial ideas, i.e. numbers, proportions and geometries, realized and active in all creation, especially in man - who had been created according to God's image, after all. Kepler explained the mode of functioning of the stars in the individual via the unconscious; this he did long before Freud or Jung's theory of synchronicity. According to him, the cosmic harmonies would be sensed "without any reasoning" ("sine rationatione"); things on earth would react in parallelism or synchronously to the stellar configurations , i.e. instinctively, via innate instincts, not causally (mechanistically). Similar to Jung, he conceived the archetype to be kind of an 'empty container' or scheme - which finally had to be filled by the indivdual person with substantial things. He advocated: "Astrology isn't dealing with 'particularia' (specific, concrete objects), but with 'generalia' (abstract categories, typifications)." That's why he thought 'specifica' so difficult to prognose and why in his birth charts he preferred psychological descriptions...
The term "archetype" is originally a Hellenistic or Gnostic notion. To Paracelsus, the "archaeus" was the Earth's creative spiritual centre, its spirit and soul. Kepler was the first to use it in a modern, psychological context. So psychological astrologers of today needn't be followers of Carl Jung, but in talking about "astrological archetypes" they are justified in refering to the pioneer of modern astronomy!

4. Usage of astrological symbols outside the birth chartastrological signatures in your hand

a. Palmistry

Remarkably, in chirology we find astrology's symbols written into our hands. In the art of palmistry the psycho-physical meaning of the planets has been detached from their ecliptic positions. Here the planetary energies are features, factors of character and destiny totally independent of the ephemeris - though their interpretations and meanings are pretty identical with those of an astrologer.

b. Alchemy

When they laboured with matter and its changes, the medieval alchemists - according to Jung, early practical psychologists, who unconsciously projected their inner processes into the retort - also used astrological terms. They formulated their psychic experiences, the chemical transformations they "watched" outside and the emotions they went through inwardly, in astrological words - similar to those expressed by the stargazers, but without any astrologer's instrument or telescope!

c. Astrologers' idioms

Among themselves, astrologers have a very special language. They say something like "there my Moon is running short of food", "person X obviously needs more Saturn" or "her Sun should be strengthened". This kind of terminology indicates that the planets are ciphers of certain emotional objects and contents.

d. Taoist Inner Astrology

In "The Night Sky" Richard Grossinger quotes an ancient Chinese source: "The sage Shih K’uang recommends this technique to his emperor P’ing: 'When it is clouded, the stargazer... can find the stars by pressing his fingers on his eyes and joggling them - until the 'stars' appear. Yet, this way we don't have an arbitrary, different sky; for oracular purposes it's the same (and relevant) sky as always..."

e. Astro Dice

The astrology dice - three dodecahedron dice, their faces depicting signs, houses and planets (plus nodes) - are a popular modern method of divination. Instead of drawing Tarot cards, throwing I Ching coins/ dividing yarrow stalks or casting runes, you also can take astrological symbols in order to 'read' the moment or receive an answer to an urgent question.

Thus, all oracular methods are based on time's quality, the reader's intuition and his receptivity to the moment's inherent specific meaning.

f. Horary Astrology

A horary consultation is an oracular technique, in which the relevant chart is cast for the moment the astrologer is asked a question by the questioner. In the answer obtained the planets, signs and houses are indiicators of different areas of life, the motives of the questioner, the resources available, the persons involved, etc.

In this conception of a "moment's quality" the time passing by is seen as being full of meaning. Time is not - in the banal, scientific sense - just a clock ticking indifferently. And astrology's code tries to decipher the sound of the cosmic belll...

g. Historical Origin: The Liver-Oracle

Etruscan bronce liver of PiacenzaThe historian Jack Lindsay pointed out that the earliest astrology did not have any astronomical basis. He found out that the Mesopotamian liver-oracle actually was the predecessor of the modern horoscope-technique.
In their ritual the ancients scrutinized the liver of a recently killed lamb with regard to 'divine omina'. Interestingly, long before the Hellenistic chart model, they especially considered the four quadrants - a concept and system that later was adopted by the stargazers. In this divination of a liver its East corresponded to the Ascendant, its West to the Descendant - and was interpreted quite similarly to today's astrology! And the liver's hills and valleys were named after stars - without any glance of the priests to the real sky...

5. The chart: a model

Astrology's horoscope technique is an abstract, idealized model of the astronomical situation. The chart is not a realistic, true reflection of the firmament; it's not a literal copy but sort of a typification, some stylized image of the heavenly conditions. E.g., in this man-made picture all the planets and stars are related to the ecliptic - their factual declination or latitude (their 'true' position) doesn't really matter. And the ecliptic is not depicted as an ellipse, but as a perfect Platonic circle. Criteria like geometrical proportion, symmetry and harmony are decisive in astrology's system, as laid out by Kepler in "harmonices mundi". In this system for aesthetical and theoretical reasons the sun's annual path has been divided into twelve equal - ideal, not real - parts of exactly thirty degrees (by the way, the same happens in Indian astrology with the Fixed stars' oriented Sidereal zodiac). Similarly the earth's rotation has been dealt with: every day is seen as consisting of twelve phases or houses. The house cusps and the planetary nodes are imaginary points of intersection; they don't have any material background. The widely used methods of directions, progressions, solars, etc. also don't have an astronomical basis. Some of them even work backwards in time; scientific or physical substantiality doesn't really count - in contrast to symbolic truth...
In astrology's model heaven's constellations are just the starting point of the theoretical reasonings. In it a cause of effect immanent in the stars isn't necessary; it's all based on principles like "as above, so below" (on correspondences or analogies), as well as the central axioms of "quality of time" and the "quality of numbers". It's a system invented and refined over the centuries by man in order to understand himself and his world better.

D. ASTROLOGY: A TRADITIONAL, HUMANISTICIC PSYCHOLOGY

There are many parallels between modern Humanistic Psychology, especially between Maslow's concept of an "Inner Nature" or Jung's idea of the "Self" as centre of the human personality, and the classical philosophy of Humanism.

1. Ficino

Duerer: Melencolia IIn his early letters Marsilio Ficino, the 15th century Florentine philosopher and translator of Plato's writings, who was responsible for the revival of Neo-Platonism, complained a lot about the negative effects of Saturn - which in his birth chart was placed right on the Ascendant. Later he fervently praised the "great malefic" in several volumes and wrote a regular 'manual' of astro therapy (in "de vita triplici"). According to him, the outermost planet surely produced sort of a depression, chronic sadness and solitude (a "melencholia generosa"), but also supported patience and contemplation, wisdom and depth of thought (and thus philosophy), mental clarity, brillance, geniality and concentration, i.e. an excellent memory. In order to be healed, a melancholic person therefore should either consciously turn towards Saturn's positive, spiritual sides, getting away from worldly illusions, or cultivate the oppositional qualities of Jupiter (cf. Duerer's Melencolia I).
Thus Ficino overcame the Arabian and medieval astrology's determenistic thinking and advocated a constructive way to deal with Fate. He explained that by willingly submitting to life's necessities you would get rid of 'daemon' Saturn's curse and be free again. Ficino didn't conceive the astrological constellations as "the soul's prison" - but as signposts to personal evolution. He wrote: "The sky is a sign of many events, without being the cause." He saw several levels of Saturn's possible realisation; and, by this fundamentally positive anthropology of the leading Renaissance scholar, from then on human self-development became one of astrology's main branches and purposes. The philosophers after him even went further and stated: "Self-knowledge is the pre-condtion and key to world-knowledge".

2. Paracelsus

For the medical pioneer Theophrastus Paracelsus the soul was a "sidereal" or "astral body" - with the planets as inner organs, similar to the Indian chakras; an idea, which later influenced Theosophy and Anthroposophy. According to him, man's sublime "star body" consisted of instincts, animal drives, passions and emotions. Yet, this "inner firmament" wasn't identical with the outer. In contrast to the street-astrologers' causal thinking he saw the stars of the heaven just as outer 'hands' of the inner 'clock'. In Paracelsus' opinion the sage or philosopher controlled the stars - they had to follow him not the other way round: "The stars of the microcosm rule over and govern the stars of heaven", he said - a concept pretty close to Carl Jung's modern theory of synchronicity!

3. Cardano and Kepler

Pioneers of early modern science also widely used astrology's psychology, though mainly in their private life. The Renaissance physician and scholar Gerolamo Cardano wrote a famous autobiography predominantly based on his birth chart; his words were used again by Goethe three hundred years later. Cardano did an impressive in-depth study and analysis of his psyche, his character and his feelings. In this venture to understand himself he actually stood at the conscious beginning of the hermeneutical conception of a horoscope's interpretation, i.e. its communicative or "narrative construction of meaning" and its "formation of identity" (Von Stuckrad).
A hundred years after him, especially in his letters Johannes Kepler reflected a lot about himself, too, on the basis of his horoscope. In his self-enquiry he primarily found the planetary aspects to be very useful. To him they symbolized adequately his moods, drives and needs. For that (psychological) reason, like many scholars of his time, he also called a voluminous collection of birth charts (containing one thousand horoscopes!) his own. Being sort of a scientific pantheist, he thought the soul (anima) to be the connection between man and the stars. In his philosophy he saw the universal and individual soul as an all-permeating force and unifying factor of the One World (Unus Mundus), as a link between spirit and matter.

Gichtel: planets as chakras

References:

Cornelius, Geoffrey, The Moment of Astrology, London, 1994
Lindsay, Jack, Origins of Astrology, London, 1971
Von Stuckrad, Kocku, History of Western Astrology: From Earliest Times to the Present, London, 2005