E520 Character, Karma, and Calling: Astrologies of Soul

3 Workshops over 3 terms
Instructors; Joseph Crane and Enid Newberg

Each individual 5-week workshop is $195, $530 if you take all three (students signing up for all three courses get $50 off the price of taking the courses individually). All three workshops are required to be counted as a diploma elective or for the Multi-Cultural Traditions Certificate.

The cultivation of soul is the key to human flourishing and happiness, in this life and in future lifetimes. This is a basic truth held by wisdom traditions of all kinds – Eastern and Western, ancient and contemporary – yet this means different things in different traditions.

Most of us have also experienced a “soul crisis” or “dark nights of the soul” in which we feel our very existence is called into question and when we find our way back – we sense we have changed in a fundamental way.

The soul’s crises and cultivations are one of the reasons we work with astrology. And this concern for the soul has been part of astrology throughout its history. This program is the most comprehensive treatment of soul and astrology offered anywhere. It traces the connections between concepts of soul, from philosophy, religion and astrology, through Western and Eastern history and practice. It will introduce you to a range of perspectives and applications that can aid in living a good life and help sustain the spirit through life's transitions.

All three courses survey the traditions that astrologers inherited and created and apply their ideas to astrological practice.

Each course in Astrologies of Soul explores a different feature of soul and its relationship to astrology.  We begin with a wisdom tradition and then move into the modern era and its astrology.  We separate the three courses by three basic ways of thinking about soul.

E520A. Psyche and Character (FALL term)

The first course takes us first into the ancient world where we find soul as breath, vital energy, and our energetic presence in the world, our Character.  From there we also see how the twentieth century worked with this concept of soul, forming it into Ego and Self.

Our investigation begins in the ancient world that saw soul as body and mind, as breath and life force, as our basic nature that outlives the body, and as the self that reveals itself to others.  Here are the beginning investigations of character, the cracks and breaks in soul that express in "character flaws", and the ideas of what constitutes “the Good Life”; ideas that manifested in a complete psychological astrology.  We will also explore the modern concepts of “unconscious” and “ego” and the interplay between psychology and modern astrological thought.

Weekly topics include:

  • What is “Soul”; The Soul’s Harmonies
  • The Soul’s Relationship to Body and Astrology’s Planets
  • Soul as Character in Traditional and Modern Astrology
  • The Soul as Self in Modern Astrology and Psychology

E520B Soul and the World (WINTER term)

The Second Course, “Soul and World” begins in the Renaissance with an investigation of how soul is also universal. Thus we are part of and within the universe’s grand plan – this is soul as Calling.  What is the intersection of individual and universal soul?  We can call it magic.

Astrology has a unique role to play in enhancing understanding of one’s calling and how to actualize it. We start with the metaphor of the soul’s ascent and descent through the planets and each planet’s contribution to our purpose. We then discuss the relationship of Personal Soul to World Soul as found in late antiquity and the Italian Renaissance. Here we find a new relationship between the soul and the world that is sometimes misnamed “humanism” as well as the seeds of our modern understanding of the soul's sense of alienation. Next we discuss the magical astrological practice of Marsilio Ficino and his contemporaries. Finally we examine soul in the world according to the modern recasting by James Hillman that connects soul and our world to imagination and archetype. In this way Hillman penetrates the purpose of natal astrology and its ability to provide insight and healing.

Weekly topics include:
• The soul’s calling and our responses; the soul’s journeys through the heavens
• Individual Soul and the World Soul: Late Antiquity and the Italian Renaissance
• Astrological Magical Practice
• James Hillman and the modern soul

E520C The Recurring and Evolving Soul (SPRING term)

The third workshop begins in ancient India and takes soul through many lifetimes, based on Karma.  The varying ideas about karma and the soul's reincarnation has had an enormous impact on astrology from the theosophical movement to evolutionary astrology today. 

We end in modern times as we examine and apply the many ways that astrologers from Leo through Rudhyar and Bailey to Forrest and Green have applied the idea of the soul’s incarnations to astrological practices in an attempt to bring understanding to the soul's needs in this life.

  • Encounters with the East on a philosophical, religious and cultural level. (From Alexander’s conquests to the Crusades and trade routes, to the 18th and 19th Centuries and the Introduction of the exotic to the west.)
  • Western Magic plus Eastern metaphysics = 19th and 20th C New Age Movements
  • The synthesis of theosophy and astrology; The esoteric approach to astrology
  • Contemporary reincarnation astrological implications and applications

NOTE: These workshops have two parts: an online course site with supplemental material and online discussion forums. Students will also have assignments. Each week there is a live interactive online conference. The live portion of the course is recorded and students will receive a copy of the recording.