A Conversation with Alexander Ruperti... on Astrology’s Place in the World
by Lynn Bell
This article was first published in the Dec./Jan. 1998 issue of The Mountain Astrologer and is reprinted here with minor editorial changes and with permission.
For those of you who wonder what is possible after the second Saturn return, Alexander Ruperti’s story is an inspiring one. Born of a Russian father and Austrian mother on May 23, 1913, at 10:11 p.m. (rectified by Dane Rudhyar), in Stuttgart, Germany, Alex came to England at the age of two. Although he became a British citizen, he has lived in Switzerland since 1939. Ruperti first encountered astrology in his 20s and became a member of the Astrological Lodge in London in the 1930s. Soon afterward, he read Dane Rudhyar’s seminal work, The Astrology of Personality,  which was first published in 1936. Rudhyar became the main influence in Ruperti’s astrological life, and they maintained a correspondence throughout Ruperti’s long and distinguished career as a physical therapist and osteopath.
Ruperti’s astrological career began in the early 1970s, when he became part of the International Society of Astrological Research (ISAR) for Switzerland and began to lecture internationally. At 84, he still travels and teaches regularly in France, Switzerland, and Spain. He has written seven books, but only one in English, The Cycles of Becoming.  In 1984, with Marief Cavaignac, he created the Réseau d’Astrologie Humaniste, a group dedicated to the dissemination of Rudhyar’s ideas and philosophy, where the notion of personal evolution and consciousness is central to the practice of astrology. There are branches of the association in most of the large and medium-sized cities in France, Switzerland, and Spain, and it has been an important part of the renewed vigor of astrology in France in recent years.
This interview took place in June 1997 when Alex Ruperti and Marief Cavaignac were in Paris for a few days.
Lynn Bell: Alex, can you tell us something about your beginnings in astrology? How did you come to astrology?
Alex Ruperti: It was almost by chance. I was staying with a friend who had received a parcel of books, and since he had to be absent during the day, he said, “If you open that parcel, maybe there’s something that will interest you.” In it, I found Charles Carter’s First Principles of Astrology. I said to myself, “What on Earth does that mean?” I knew nothing about astrology, but I was intrigued, and I started reading it. As a result, I firmly decided to go further and see a professional astrologer to have my chart done.
LB: That was in London?
AR: That was in London back in the beginning of the 1930s.
LB: How old were you then?
AR: About 20. [laughs] But even before that, I was already interested in all sorts of occult teachings. I wanted to know what a man was, why he was here, and what he had to do.
LB: Besides astrology, who were your principal influences at that time?
AR: Mainly theosophical. Also, an extraordinary man took me in hand and gave me a special interior training over a number of years. So, through him, I was presumably recapitulating things already formed in the past that I had to use in the best way possible during this life. I merely had to let all my barriers and blockages drop in order to allow something that was already there to come through. That happened on the energy level, and also in terms of ideas. I have a facility of getting to the mental plane without the distortions of the astral, so I can bring archetypes through without problems.
LB: What did astrology add to what you were learning in other areas?
AR: It was a means of communicating the significance of the transitional periods through which we were going. The essential task of astrologers should be to interpret human life in terms of the needs of the epoch. We are here, now, because we have something particular to offer, and if we don’t know what that is, it’s rather a pity. Astrology is one of the means of being able to recognize what is. What the world asks of us at any given time and the real destiny of any person, whatever their superficial life may be, is always to resolve some basic human problem. And I think astrology should be one of the means to awaken people to what is possible in their lives, beyond the everyday superficial stuff that we are told is the only thing worthwhile.
LB: So, in those early days, did you become impassioned for astrology right away?
AR: Oh, yes. I went straightaway to the Astrological Lodge, where Charles Carter was president, and I became a member. And at the same time, in 1936, I discovered Rudhyar’s first book, The Astrology of Personality, which completely transformed my whole attitude toward life. At that time, I was a very mental person — they called me the walking brain — But I realized through Rudhyar that I was not yet incarnated in this body and that, if I wanted to become a human being, I had to change my way of life. I thought that, through astrology and the timing of the cycles, I could work all that out.
I wrote to Rudhyar straightaway, a very passionate Sagittarian letter, and was surprised to get a reply within a few weeks, where he wrote at the bottom, “Keep steady, unemotional, without glamour. Rudhyar.” I remember that even today. So, I realized that there was some work to do. I stayed loyal to his ideas right through, because I found they were extremely important. It was not Rudhyar as a man that interested me but what he was trying to communicate to us and its importance during times of crisis, or transition, for humanity.
LB: What was the astrological world like in London at that time?
AR: The Astrological Lodge was a branch of the Theosophical Society, and most of the astrologers there were theosophically oriented. They came into the room in long robes and talked about their masters and all sorts of things. It was only after World War II that astrologers broke away from that theosophical matrix and decided to form the Astrological Association for non-theosophical astrologers. [laughs] But up until then, it was Alan Leo and his books that were the main foundation of astrology.
LB: What was Charles Carter’s role then? Was he a rebel?
AR: No, he wasn’t a rebel. He was a real mixture of Libra and Aquarius, intelligent enough to have his own experiences. He introduced many pertinent ideas for the practice of astrology in his time. He broke away from tradition and even criticized certain traditional ways, but he didn’t go as far as Rudhyar. I remember the time he called Rudhyar “an old windbag.”
LB: Did he say that to Rudhyar's face? [laughs]
AR: No, he said that in a letter to me. Before the War, there was an effervescence on the spiritual level — very advanced people who all seemed to know each other, all seemed to be working in the same direction. And there was the feeling that big changes, spiritual changes, the sort of changes that people hope will come with the New Age in Aquarius, were already there. Then the War came along, and all of that just stopped. That same stimulus never came up again afterward. It was finished. But at the time, it was extraordinary — the atmosphere and the people I met. I felt a part of something extraordinary.
LB: Where were you living at the time?
AR: I lived in one room in London. I had this capacity to use energies, thanks to the man who was helping me. He told me that, if I could obtain the knowledge of the physical foundations of the body, these powers could use me far better than if I were ignorant of them. So, as a foundation for using these energies, I began my study of physical therapy, and through that, osteopathy.
LB: At the time, were there people in your life whom you felt were fellow spirits, those who really understood what you were experiencing through astrology?
AR: No, because I was trying to interest people in Rudhyar’s ideas, and I was very surprised to find complete ignorance. They didn’t even know he existed. His ideas didn’t seem to touch them at all.
LB: Do you think Rudhyar was ahead of his time?
AR: Yes, definitely. He’s a seed man for the future. That’s why his ideas are so important today.
LB: So, Alex, did you begin to practice astrology early on?
AR: I did, in a small way. I remember I was contacted by a magazine called The Weekly Horoscope. They wanted me to answer letters from readers. I was very proud to have a job, so I accepted it. Then, I started getting these letters — people pouring their hearts and souls out to me, not knowing who I was, just a name in the paper. And I said, “Good God! If they have that kind of faith, what I’m going to say will have great impact. Am I mature enough to take that on? Are my answers sufficiently positive?” I didn’t feel up to it, so I refused. Somebody else took it on, and I don’t know how it went. I realized the terrific responsibility involved when people think astrology can influence their inner life. The moment it becomes psychologically oriented, as it has in the 20th century, it is necessary for astrologers who want to work in this way to have a far deeper psychological foundation than most have. They are very naïve.
LB: Did you study astrology during the time you were an osteopath? Was it always a part of your life?
AR: It was part of my life because I was in contact with Rudhyar. He was writing a lot at that time, so I would get new articles every month. But I hadn’t time to practice astrology as such, except with certain people whom I was treating medically. Because the birth date was on the x-ray photo, I had an idea of what level to speak to the person.
LB: So, we could say you had a very deep contact with the people you worked with?
AR: Yes. I’m a very Saturnian person, you see, born with the Sun conjunct Saturn. That concentration is second nature to me.
LB: How long did you continue to be an osteopath?
AR: Oh, right through. I was still an osteopath in 1969, when I got a letter from Rudhyar saying that in America they had started ISAR, and they were looking for presidents for each nation. He had suggested me for Switzerland, where I was residing at the time. It was his letter that brought me back to astrology. The first meeting was in Germany in 1970, so I went and took part. In 1973, which was a big year for me, it was in San Diego, where my intervention created an uproar among the youngsters, who said, “You’ve got to stay with us — we need you. Stay with us six months, a year if you can.” I realized that something had happened that was beyond me at the time. I didn’t understand the importance of it. Even Rudhyar, who was present, kissed me on both cheeks and said, “That work, you’ve got to have it published. I’ll give you the name of my publisher in New York.” It was quite extraordinary. I had presented the ideas in my book, The Cycles of Becoming, a sort of Rudhyar foundation for transit interpretation, and I couldn’t understand why what I said there had such an impact.
LB: What was happening for you astrologically at that time?
AR: There were a lot of very “bad aspects” at the time! The eclipse cycle was on the Sun and Saturn, and at the same time, Saturn was in the 7th house and squaring Uranus in the 9th. In fact, traditionally speaking, it was not the time to go to America.
LB: In 1973, transiting Pluto must have been in early Libra, trining your Sun and Saturn and creating a grand trine with your Uranus.
AR: Possibly, but then there were the eclipses. Well, it was the most extraordinary time. It was not easy for a European who had learned that, when you communicate, you have a nice paper prepared with all the details included. The Americans didn’t. They wanted to know who I was inside, not only what I had compiled from books. I had to learn to speak like that, and it had a very big effect. I realized something about the whole impact of what I represented as a person. And astrologically, that came about when progressed Mercury was stationary retrograde in the 8th house, which is a very good symbol for the work I did then to try to put together all that I’d learnt in French.
LB: Because, of course, you’re a Gemini, so Mercury is your ruler.
AR: Yes, but progressed Mercury stationary is always a very important year for whomever is experiencing it.
LB: Was it like starting a second life then?
AR: Well, I couldn’t continue to work nine hours a day treating people and also respond to the astrological call. I decided to retire from my medical practice and work on the mental level. And it changed my focus from working on the physical to developing the mental.
LB: How old were you then? AR: In 1973, I was 60.
LB: So, it was your second Saturn return.
AR: You decide what you’re going to do with the end of your life when the third Saturn cycle begins.
LB: Would you say your third Saturn cycle has been the richest?
AR: Well, it is. It was for Rudhyar, too. He did more with the last ten years of his life than he did before. It was incredible what he produced in those last ten years.
LB: Alex, you’ve just had your Uranus return. Most of the people reading this interview aren’t going to have any idea what that’s like. Is there something you could say about your experience of it on a personal level?
AR: It’s difficult to say. The fact that I’m here now probably means I still have something useful to share. And as long as that possibility is there, I think we are used
by humanity, of which we are a part, as long as the physical body can stand it. But if there is nothing to offer, I don’t think it matters very much when one leaves this physical plane.
I never thought I would reach this age, physically speaking, but it’s turned out that the last years have been important in terms of sharing certain things with many people. I think that’s what has kept me here. But in terms of my own personal development, that is all finished now.
LB: Are you saying that there’s no further development after the Uranus return?
AR: Yes, I’m quite certain. You can’t start concentrated attention on inner development at just any time in life. If you don’t start it by a certain early time, it will not be possible in this life.
LB: What do you think the deadline is?
AR: Normally, it should be when you’re around the midpoint, in the 40s. That’s when a decision is made.
LB: Do you think people in Western society prepare for death?
AR: No. They are ego-centered and afraid of death. They’re scared of not existing anymore. But the idea of getting beyond the ego while still alive is a thing they have to learn. Overcoming the ego and dying has become synonymous. You have to overcome the ego’s limitations and realize there’s a whole lot more and still be able to use the ego to share and communicate.
LB: Do you think the medical practice was absolutely fundamental to your growth as a teacher?
AR: Yes, definitely. It was a question of bringing the energies through without distortion, and I had to concentrate on that. That was during the waxing of the progressed lunation cycle.
LB: Do you have natal planets in the 6th house?
AR: Yes, in Campanus, there is the Sun–Saturn conjunction in the 6th. By progression, I’ve had Mars and Saturn conjunct in the 6th for years.
LB: Would you recommend that kind of path for anyone who has 6th-house planets?
AR: With the 6th house, you have to be prepared for a metamorphosis. You have to go through certain things instead of trying to avoid them.
LB: What kinds of things?
AR: The sorts of things you try to avoid as an ego. [laughs]
LB: When you began to work in France, did you find that the French responded to astrology differently than the people in America?
AR: Yes, very differently. The Americans took it all in a personal way, for themselves. They didn’t want to become astrologers in a professional sense, whereas here the goal is to become a professional, to apply it to other people. In America, people wanted to live their own charts, and their charts became the beginning of their lives. They forgot about whatever had happened before that. That’s why there was little interest in spreading Rudhyar’s ideas. I was the only one who had the idea to spread anything.
LB: Why did yourself and Marief Cavaignac start the Réseau d'Astrologie Humaniste (the Humanist Astrology Network, or RAH)?
AR: In our seminars, which are also attended by non-astrologers, I underline the importance of developing a certain quality of being. The goal here is not to be an astrologer but to live in a certain way that can be useful to humanity, to really be of service. Astrology is a tool to help us do this. It is merely a means to something, not an aim or an end in itself. And, of course, because of this accent on personal growth, a lot of people became interested in a deeper way than they would have if we had simply been focusing on astrological techniques. In France, everything is centered in Paris, yet many people live in outlying towns. This makes it expensive to journey to Paris every time for a meeting, so I decided to set up a network.
LB: What year did the Réseau d’Astrologie Humaniste actually begin?
AR: It began in 1984 in France. Though it grew little by little, it became official then. We’re quite a big movement now.
LB: Do you think it’s possible to practice astrology without a sense of spirituality?
AR: The superficial kind, yes. If you think everything comes from outside yourself, then, through the knowledge of aspects, you can avoid one thing and bring about another.
LB: What do you think astrology’s place is in this interplay between the forces of spirit and the forces of matter?
AR: It is a means of finding our place in this universe, and always more consciously. Astrology was the first intuition that we were part of the universe — that there was order, order that was up there dominating everything, order that had to be listened to and followed out passively down here. It was that way of being influenced, of being a puppet, that continued through many centuries.
Before Jung’s work in this century, people in general did not know what “being an individual” meant. Even today, Americans attach importance to “doing their own thing” in the belief that one proves oneself an individual by acting a certain way. For the non-Jungian, the belief is that we are born individuals and we project that belief onto our ancestors. In reality, neither they nor people living today are born individuals. The potentiality is there, because being able to act as a true individual is the promise of the present phase of human development. But potentiality is notactuality. This fact is not yet understood or accepted in academic circles. It is this ignorance that pushes people to behave as egocentric individualists and stops them from realizing that to be a
real individual is a phase in the future and difficult to accomplish. The key difference between an individualist and a true individual is that the former puts an accent on differences, feeling himself separate from other people and also from the universe he imagines, while the latter has had the experience of being a conscious and functional part of the collectivity, within which he participates purposefully, together with other true individuals. Each individual develops the total potentiality of his branch of human nature with the single aim of offering what will help fulfill some basic human need during the time of his life.
Before we knew of the axial rotation of our Earth, astrologers had no symbolic means of individualizing the human nature defined by the zodiac (the symbolization of the twelve types of human nature measured by the collective movement of the planets and the Earth around the Sun). Also, it was impossible for somebody of “low birth” to become king or president. The condition of birth determined what was possible on sociocultural levels. Even today, because of psychological ignorance, most people believing themselves individuals are simply expressions of their sociocultural conditioning and biological compulsions. The separate-feeling “I” is in constant competition with other separate-feeling “I”s. The accent is on differences and originality. The true individual is an origin, creating a way of living that will reveal ever more distinctly what a truly conscious human being canreveal. Don’t forget that even the most unique and original person expresses what his human nature allows him to express, according to his conscious development. The collective always comes first.
LB: What do you see as the future of the individual?
AR: To become a more conscious participant in a group activity, with all working toward the same purpose, which is the beginning of the whole universe. Express love! It is a form of integration. We have to unite these fragments that are all over the place, these thousands of different forms expressing the same thing, and we don’t even realize it’s the same thing being expressed.
We have a certain experience, and we don’t know what it means; then we have another experience that tries to tell us the same thing in a different way. So, we may have to go through what seem to be ten different experiences to teach us the same thing:
“Ahhh, of course, that’s it!” Astrology is the power to see what is behind those thousands of outer experiences that seem different and yet express the same quality.
We can reduce everything to essentials, and that is the power of astrology. We have twelve signs, ten planets, and twelve houses, and with that we can explain everything from the lowest level to the highest level. Therefore, we have to talk on an essential level, and not about superficial differences.
LB: I noticed you used the verb “reduce.” I think people are afraid of being reduced by astrology.
AR: The idea of free will is a particular illusion of the West. In the East, it’s the illusion of liberation from this world. The rationalists are against astrology because they feel their so-called “free will” is not allowed to work there. And yet they try to predict things down to the minutest part of a second for everything. They’re deterministic in the most 100 percent way! Astrologers are not allowed to do that, because they are working with human beings. In the ego era, we are separate from the universe instead of participants in it.
LB: What do you think is the role of the astrologer?
AR: To explain the meaning of what has happened and what is happening in terms of the whole life. You have to go from the whole to the parts instead of trying to build up artificially from the parts, the fragments, an image of the whole according to one’s conditioning. It’s just the opposite. The spiritualist always goes from the whole to the parts. The scientist goes from the parts and tries painfully to build up something larger.
LB: What do you think the astrologer needs to do to be in contact with this?
AR: It all depends on what type of astrology he (or she) wants to do. If you’re predicting for Wall Street or if you want to see how the weather works, you don’t need all this psychological stuff. It’s only when you treat astrology as a therapeutic device that psychology becomes important. And that’s why some British astrologers say that astrology does not need psychology.
LB: But Liz Greene’s school is the Center for Psychological Astrology, and there are other astrology schools in England with a psychological focus.
AR: But they say you have to be a psychologist before you use astrology.
LB: No, they don’t say that. They say you have to do some kind of psychological work on yourself while you’re studying astrology. They don’t say you have to be a psychologist.
AR: But it has to be a system imposed from outside. One can’t just be an introspective person who decides by oneself to meditate.
LB: No, they ask you to work on yourself with someone else, but you can choose the person.
AR: The point is that astrology is like mathematics; it can organize whatever you apply it to. Therefore, in relation to psychology, astrology is not limited to any one school of psychology but can use ideas from any of the schools in order to appreciate what a human being is today. But to limit oneself to Jung or Freud, for me, is the wrong way of looking at things. It’s putting psychology first and astrology second. Astrology is something whole that can give meaning, just as mathematics gives meaning to the physicist’s experience. Without mathematics, they could not organize their experiences of the material world. And astrology plays exactly the same role in terms of psychological things.
LB: Are you optimistic about people’s ability to work together, now that Uranus is in Aquarius and Neptune will enter Aquarius in early 1998?
AR: That is the potentiality. [laughs] That is the challenge. But how we work that, nobody can say beforehand. It all depends on how many people are oriented that way in relation to those who are not. It’s like the story of the hundredth monkey. A certain number of people are needed before there’s a change in the psychic atmosphere. The
challenge is always there, but if we take a look at how humanity has related to past challenges, the outlook is not very positive.
LB: It sounds as though you’re unwilling to predict where humanity is going.
AR: We don’t know when our universe began nor when it will end. What we do know is that we’re part of a process. Things are moving! And we’re part of that movement. If we put aside all the mythology connected with astrology, it’s merely a photograph of the sky at a given moment in time at a given place on this Earth. It can refer to anything born at that moment. But everything born at that moment is an expression of what the universe is working toward on different levels, even if we’re not conscious of what is happening. What we need to find out is what we, as human beings, have to do in terms of that universal process of which we are a part. The birth chart is merely an impersonal thing. We are a means, a potentiality for something. Our job is to realize that and try to work it out by living the chart instead of wanting to change it or limit it to only one conditioned level of reality.
LB: How can a person tell if he or she is living out that purpose?
AR: One doesn’t have to — the results will probably show up. We’re not asked to be super-introspective. That’s the last thing that is asked of us. We should be concentrating on some form of service that is consciously part of something greater, to which we bring a quality that is particular to us and useful to everyone else. Outside of that, nothing is worth anything, but merely a means to give us experiences that make us change. They hit us on the head to make us realize we’re not doing what could be done, not doing what is necessary when it is necessary.
LB: So, essentially you’re saying there is no choice?
AR: The ego has to learn through its choices, because it makes bad choices all the time. [laughs] We learn from being what we are not. Then we realize little by little what we are.
LB: Do you think this is a particularly 6th-house perspective?
AR: It’s a human perspective. It’s all human. But the 6th-house perspective could be that the ego-centered person realizes he is part of something bigger and has to change in order to meet another form of reality.
LB: What do you think astrologers need most right now?
AR: To realize that there are things more valuable than those which are touted by our present society.
LB: Which things are valuable?
AR: An accent on “being” rather than “having.” That is the key. Quality, not quantity. We know this already, but people don’t realize it means putting the accent on what we are as a quality, rather than the number of things we possess. Everything in the chart shows this quality of being that is behind everything, which we could develop consciously. And the energy at our disposal to get there is shown by the Sun sign. The Sun is not the individuality but what is necessary to become an individual.
LB: How do you see the Ascendant?
AR: The Ascendant is the future. We’re working toward that. But far too many astrologers see it as something that exists already. They also put the ego in the 10th house, and the 7th house is also the self in some way. There’s a mixup.
LB: Where is the ego in the chart?
AR: The ego is the whole chart. The whole chart is the past, the karma — not only Saturn and the South Node and the 12th house. It is just the past, and there’s no judgment attached to karma. It’s just the past.
LB: So, are you saying there’s no future shown in the chart?
AR: No, not as such. But the phases of the cycles show what the next step forward should be. Each natal aspect is a way of behaving between two functions in the human being, and if you work that out consciously, you’re going to be facing in the right direction whatever you do. It’s a matter of being conscious, of using what is at your disposal within, at the moment when the chart says, “Now is the time to use it.” And the field of experience is the house where you should be using it. Nowhere but there. It’s not a matter of whether it’s going to make you rich or happy or important, but whether it is the thing to do.
The transits show how the whole collective atmosphere changes. They are challenges to us, and when those transits hit our charts, some aspect within us should respond, which can be useful in making the collective situation more positive. It’s not a matter of what will happen to me, but what one can do so that the present situation gives positive results. We are too ego-centered; everything is brought down to the “I.”
LB: Well, we have to start somewhere, don’t we?
AR: No, we don’t, and you realize this once you become individualized. You go through an experience where the ego disappears. You’re no longer Alex Ruperti, with such and such nationality; you’re not even a man or a woman. You’re simply a human being who suddenly realizes a whole lot of things you didn’t realize before. All of these structures you built up just disappear, because they are no longer necessary.
LB: Are those moments of awareness available at any time in a person’s life?
AR: That awareness should be developed between the ages of 28 and 56, for most people. The possibility of it is usually shown around 28, but you have to work at it. It’s at the midpoint between 28 and 56 when there is the realization of whether you’re going where you want to go or not.
LB: Well, you became interested in these things while you were very young. How do you explain that?
AR: There a lots of things that are hereditarily possible. What matters is what you do with them. The ability to use what I knew in an individual way didn’t come until I was
28. It was three or four weeks after my 28th birthday that these energies came through in a very positive way, not before.
LB: What was the difference?
AR: It was suddenly there. My mother had fallen down and had a very painful knee. She asked me to massage it, because I was doing that sort of work. When I started, there was an impulse to do it in a certain way and to do all kinds of other things outside the knee. My mother went off to sleep, and when she woke up the next morning, she had no more pain. The knee went all sorts of colors — green, violet, blue — but she had no more pain. I said, “Ah, something new is coming through.” She was my first patient.
LB: Did all those things come spontaneously?
AR: Spontaneously, yes. I met two people at a recent conference in Paris who saw me work in that way, and they said “We do that, too. Spontaneously.” They hadn’t learned it from anybody. So it’s a way of doing that’s coming through now, and there’ll be more and more people capable of it. That’s the reality. Whatever the ego forces and tries to do is wrong. All the ego has to do is shut up and let things happen through him or her.
LB: So, the ego's work is to let the doors open? AR: Yes, but it’s very difficult for the ego to do that.
LB: This story is fantastic in terms of the astrological symbolism — your Saturn return and your mother’s knee. (Alex has the Moon in Capricorn.) You have a Saturn- Sun conjunction. Do you think someone less Saturnian might experience this at a different time?
AR: Not a different time, but the details may be different. Age 28 is the third part of the Uranus cycle. You need 28 steps for the identity to incarnate on all three levels: mental,
physical, and emotional. That is why you are a whole person at 28. From then on, there’s some consciousness behind everything.
LB: Why do you think human beings develop in this way?
AR: What we call individualization is becoming conscious of a process that is unconscious most of the time. Once you become conscious, you can work with the process in a conscious way. But the process is still the principal thing. We attach importance to our separateness and forget we’re part of the process.
LB: Are you referring to process in the way Krishnamurti does?
AR: Yes, and the way Einstein does, when he talks about cause and effect and solid objects influencing each other. What matters is the relationship created all the time between all these objects.
LB: How would you answer the objection that people sometimes have to humanistic astrology, that it’s not practical enough?
AR: What do you call practical? Predicting events? The job of astrology never was to predict events. The scientists think that, without prediction, astrology doesn’t mean anything. Character analysis doesn’t mean anything either. You can project all sorts of things; it’s been proven in psychological tests.
LB: But what about the connection astrology has to the oracular traditions?
AR: In the olden days, there were fewer possibilities; there were not egos that could choose and change things like they can today. You were born into a certain family that conditioned you and your possibilities for the rest of your life. You couldn’t be a poor man and become the President of France or America. So, because the possibilities in life were less numerous, it was far easier to predict things.
LB: Have you ever had readings with an astrologer that meant a lot to you?
AR: Yes, with Rudhyar. He’s the only one who said something that meant anything to me — even from a technical point of view. I have a very wide t-square; in terms of orb, it’s not strong at all. But Rudhyar pointed out that the midpoint of my Moon–Neptune opposition, which defines the bowl pattern in my chart, is the 20th degree of Cancer/Capricorn and that Mars and Venus, which are 15° apart, have the same midpoint of 20° Aries. Therefore, it’s actually a very tight t-square based on the 20th degree of cardinal signs — Mars conjunct Venus in Aries, square Moon–Jupiter in Capricorn, opposite Neptune in Cancer. The empty house is the 9th house with 20° Libra. I’d never seen that idea before.
LB: How often do you think someone should have an astrological consultation? AR: When they’re in a crisis and only then.
LB: Really? Never any other time?
AR: It has no meaning at other times. The crisis brings things up, and the symbols just hit you. You don’t have to think, “Now, what does this mean?” It’s so clear. For me, astrology is a crisis technique. I think it’s much more important to work out the phases of clients’ progressions, as in Rudhyar’s dynamic approach, so that they can feel they’re going somewhere. You have to make them feel like the masters of the situation — they have to decide, it’s not the planets that decide for them. We have to look at the way astrologers present what is in the chart. A lot of harm is being done, unconsciously, because people don’t realize what they’re doing psychologically.
LB: Would you recommend that people who do astrology get psychological training?
AR: They should at least have training in counseling. When dealing with human beings, there must be no violence at all. Not even with the assertion of certain ideas — “This is so! That is so! You must do this! You must not do this!” As if the astrologer knows everything in advance and that going to see him can make one avoid something. And at the same time, those cosmic forces are something cosmic. The astrologer thinks that,
with little intellectual maneuvers, he or she can do something to change them. It’s a bit childish. Amelia Earhart, the pilot, wanted to fly across the Pacific, and she chose a moment when there was a total solar eclipse, and she flew into the path of the eclipse and disappeared. (Editor’s note: The eclipse was exactly conjunct her natal Venus.) Rudhyar asked: If she’d seen an astrologer before the flight, what would have happened?
Nothing? Or would something similar have happened, but under different circumstances? How can we know? So, to tell someone, “Don’t do that. There’s an eclipse, it’s dangerous,” is just a short-sighted way of looking at things. You don’t know what is happening through the event.
LB: But what would you say if someone came to you at a moment like that?
AR: You shouldn’t say anything; you shouldn’t predict. You could say, “It’s an important moment of choice.” Earhart was at the beginning of a whole series of very strong negative aspects in the progressions. And perhaps she didn’t feel strong enough to face up to that, and disappearing like that was a kind of solution. We don’t know. But that’s the sort of solution we can think about as astrologers.
LB: I was struck by what you were saying earlier about the exciting atmosphere of the 1930s and how World War II changed all that. Would you say the War was inevitable?
AR: No. In fact, the “Masters” that people were talking to at the time thought humanity would be intelligent enough to avoid it. It wasn’t necessary. It was just the mistaken psychological attitudes of the Allies after World War I that produced it. They should never have treated Germany the way they did, which made Hitler’s ascension to power possible.
LB: Would you say that it was a kind of cultural or societal “bad choice”?
AR: There was no need for it. It wasn’t foreseen above, but merely an error in the way humanity saw the situation. It wasn’t Germany’s fault; it was an all-human situation. We attach too much importance to specific people who are supposedly responsible for this or that.
There is a logic behind symbolism that is just as rigorous as intellectual logic. Not just any idea that comes into one’s head is necessarily a good one. With the plethora of new techniques, meanings, and asteroids that astrologers are adding to the chart, we need a bit more common sense. It’s not by adding more and more details to the chart that we have a better picture of reality. It merely adds to the fragmentation and confusion. A person who understands fully the meaning of Saturn and the Saturn cycle can tell you more fundamental things about human life just from that than from all these dozens of secondary things we put into a chart today, some of which are not astronomically valid.
LB: You’ve said that a fundamental aspect of Rudhyar’s teachings is the notion of four levels of experience.
AR: It’s merely a matter of recognizing where humanity is today and what is the next step ahead psychologically. Becoming an individual is not the end of the process, as we think today. And we confuse individual with individualist, because we don’t realize that becoming an individual is really a question of focusing in terms of what is collectively necessary. Becoming a clear focus and individualizing yourself is the same thing. If you are an ego running off in all directions at the same time, because your desires push you one way and another, this does not make you a true individual.
You’re too fragmented. Your whole being is limited by this desire or that desire or that complex, whatever it is. There is no central core that uses all of that in an integrated way.
LB: Do you think it’s possible for someone who hasn’t integrated, on this personality level, to understand the connection to the transpersonal?
AR: It can be understood intellectually but not yet experienced fully. During this century, far more people could do it if they knew that the process existed. For the first time, we have people like Jung and the humanistic and transpersonal psychologists to show us what is possible. But so few people want to do it. Now Jung is dead, and hardly anybody talks about him anymore. He’s forgotten.
LB: I think that’s an exaggeration!
AR: In psychological circles in America, it’s all tranquilizers and medicines.
LB: The Jungian ideas have entered popular consciousness. About four years ago, there was a series of programs with Joseph Campbell, an expert on mythology with a Jungian perspective. His books became bestsellers, and hundreds of books on mythology began to appear. You don’t have to discover Jung by being an intellectual or going to university or being able to read a certain kind of book. The ideas are much more accessible now. They are no longer held by only a select group in society. So, I don't think that’s true. Do you still do consultations?
AR: I don’t have time. For the type of work I do, I’d have to see the person.
LB: So, you wouldn’t do a chart over the telephone?
AR: No. You have to see the level a person is operating at. You have to be able to see the person’s values, how they feel and think, to give them something positive.
LB: So, what do you spend your time doing these days, Alex? AR: Writing mostly, and giving seminars, lecturing.
LB: Would you consider writing a book in English again? AR: I might have to translate what I’ve written in French!
We are grateful to astrologer Jeff Jawer for his help in arranging this interview.
References and Notes
- Dane Rudhyar, The Astrology of Personality, first published in 1936 by Lucis Publishing Company and reissued in 1963 by Servire/Wassenaar (Netherlands); Doubleday Paperback edition, 1970.
- Alexander Ruperti, The Cycles of Becoming: The Planetary Pattern of Growth, CRCS Publications, 1978. It has been translated into seven languages: French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, etc. (Readers: This book is back in publication as of 2009.)
© 1997, 2010 Lynn Bell – all rights reserved