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An Alternative to the
Astrological-Synchronicity
Model:
Metaphysical Causality


by Moses Siregar III

Note:

This is a long article, so I recommend printing it out from the printer-friendly version to read it, if you can. If you attempt to read it on the screen, I would recommend being sure to read the section on Metaphysical Causality


Causality and Synchronicity

How do the movements of the planets influence our lives? Once upon a time, astrologers considered the planets’ movements, by themselves, to cause events in our lives. The thought was that Saturn moved here or there, and that in turn caused events to occur on Earth. Then the scientific era came along, and we learned that the gravitational effect of Neptune is less significant on me than the gravitational effect caused by my dog. Thoughts of a physically causative model were sunk, probably for good, with perhaps the exception of the Moon’s physical influence.

The modern era of astrology in the West has largely taken up the model of astrological-synchronicity, partially in an effort to outgrow the old time religion of astrological causality. So now, many would say that the planets do not cause events in our lives, but that instead the planets and our terrestrial lives mysteriously reflect one another by a process of meaningful coincidence that Jung called “synchronicity.” In this view, neither we, nor the planets, are causing the other to move, but instead both are moving simultaneously in perfect, but causeless, synch with one another. Again, this synchronistic model exists entirely without a sense of causation. The idea is that everything is happening, somehow, so that our lives and the planets’ wanderings reflect each other perfectly, without one having any kind of cause and effect impact on the other.

Growing up as an astrologer in the modern, Western tradition, I once subscribed to this synchronistic idea of how astrology works. I no longer do per se, so I would like to talk about another paradigm that suits me better. I am a big fan of Jung’s work, and I am indebted to his work in more ways than I know, so my sentiments are certainly not meant to criticize Jung in any way. Instead, I want to offer an alternative to the use of synchronicity popular within the modern, western astrological tradition; or perhaps more correctly, I would like to offer an addition to this astrological-synchronicity tradition.

Probably 99% of those reading this have already decided that astrology works in some way. If this is the case, it seems to me that it is not essential to understand exactly how—meaning, the mechanism by which—astrology works. If it works, it works, and you don’t have to know everything about how it works; just use it and do something positive with it. Being a very practical person, this is how I feel. But this discussion of synchronicity may serve a practical purpose as well, so I’ll begin.

The Weaknesses of the Astrological-Synchronicity Model

Personally, I believe that the astrological-synchronicity model has become an easy way out for modern, Western astrologers who have not wanted to take a stand regarding the causative dimension of the astrological system, or have been scared to because the causative view has been at times practiced in a fatalistic way. It seems to me like the astrological-synchronicity model has been an effort to distance ourselves from all vestiges of ancient astrology and its frequently non-empowering overtones; but in this case, I feel we may have also lost something valuable. We say, “The planets move, and we live our lives, and these two things always reflect one another; it’s just some kind of automatic synchronicity,” Once we say this, the case may as well be closed, because then we don’t really have to explain or think any further about the very fundamental issue of causality, and if it exists, where it is coming from.

Remember that the modern western tradition has run far away from any kind of causality in astrology because it has wanted to avoid everything that has ever made astrology fatalistic and non-empowering; we wanted to move towards a tradition where the individual’s freedom and free will would be the foundation of our approach. This, obviously, is a very noble and good aim. But I feel that, at least in the West, we have gone to the other end of the pendulum for long enough that we can move back towards the notion of causality without it degenerating into a system that robs oneself of personal power or the belief that we are in control of our own lives. We have had the original thesis (causality) followed by its antithesis (synchronicity), and now I feel we can begin to see a kind of synthesis which allows for direct causality alongside the existence of astrological-synchronicity.

If we do not make this attempt at synthesis, then I feel we are not being honest enough with ourselves to admit that we feel there is some real kind of cause and effect involved at some level of astrology. It seems extreme to me to claim that there is no causal influence involved with astrology whatsoever, and totally contrary to my common sense as an astrologer.

Any seasoned astrologer knows that we certainly have free will, but not quite so much of a clean slate of free will that we can do anything, at any given time, regardless of where the planets are. Being a devoted student of astrology shows you that we definitely live under some kind of astrological boundaries. There are times when the astrological picture looks particularly grim, when we are bound to experience severe challenges, just as there are times when the astrological picture looks particularly rosy, when we are bound to experience a lot of grace, ease, and success. Even the great soul, Yogananda (see his book, “Autobiography of a Yogi”) had to admit that there is a real causative influence to astrology, after he had hoped to find that there was none. Yet in the West we have largely put off the confrontation of our astrological-synchronicity theory, which denies causality, with our intuitive and experiential sense (certainty?) that there is some real causality involved with astrology in some way.

To me, once we take up the astrological-synchronicity approach, we have completely dodged and avoided the most powerful and substantial claim that an astrologer can make about astrology: that it is connected with some direct causes on our lives. Astrology can absolutely revolutionize the way we see the world, even more so if it is connected with at least some kind of causal influence. When it comes to astrological-synchronicity as our fundamental model of astrological influence (non-influence?), I personally think we can do better.

My own view below will not offer a more concrete explanation than the astrological-synchronicity model, or one that will appeal to the materialistically minded in any way, but it still feels more satisfactory to me. I believe that astrological “influences”—and the term influences is misleading here, as explained further below—can still be scientifically shown as real. However, as you’ll see my point of view is no more scientific than the astrological-synchronicity model. Therefore, it’s not going to be the kind of perspective that will ever give astrology more credibility to the materialistically minded (and I do care about astrology’s credibility in materialistic circles, up to a point). But I see the point of view that I am expressing as more bold, more honest with ourselves, and more spiritual than the astrological-synchronicity model. In the end, I can only offer it as food for thought.

Perhaps my main resistance to synchronicity as an astrological model, is that I feel it is not strong enough to account for the dramatic and powerful things that are regularly (always?) seen to occur with major astrological movements. For example:

Let’s say you have the Sun and Moon at 20 Sagittarius, and Pluto just stationed at 20 Sagittarius. No doubt, in this case, some extreme events would have just occurred in your life. If you are in this situation, does it feel like it was a mere synchronicity that Pluto was at 20 Sagittarius while these intense events happened for you? A meaningful coincidence? Or does it feel like there was a very real and enormous causative influence that just reverberated through your entire life and being?

To me, that Pluto transit is no wimpy “synchronicity;” you would know that there was something incredibly powerful literally behind the things and energies that occurred during this transit. What is literally causing the times surrounding the Pluto transit to be so intense? Nothing? No cause whatsoever, as the astrological-synchronicity model suggests? Or can we admit that there is some very substantial causative influence on our lives that goes along with the interesting synchronicity? This leads into the two ways I imagine one could view synchronicity:

1. Mysteriously “mechanistic” and automatic, without a cause
2. Apparently real, but still caused or created by some kind of higher power behind synchronicity

Essentially, my personal view is the second one, and my view goes even a step beyond that, as you’ll see below. In the first view, things happen by synchronicity, and it is all amazing, but that’s just how the universe is. It’s like an unbelievable and mind-boggling machine that runs itself.

This would be a sort of Deist view of astrology. Many of the founding fathers of the United States were Deists, by the way, meaning that they thought a higher power set up the way things work, and then left for a permanent vacation. This, not coincidentally, is how a democracy is meant to work: without the intervention of a King or Queen, but instead according to a self-regulating system that practically runs itself, even after the founders have “left the building.” But the problem with this view as a spiritual philosophy, according to many, is that it leaves no room for G-d to directly or actively intervene in our lives, or for us to have any kind of actual relationship with any kind of higher spiritual power.

So personally, I cannot adhere to the first view above, because not only do I feel that it does not account for the dramatic and intense power of things that occur during astrological transits (and progressions, dasas, etc.), but also because it leaves little room for the reality of spiritual forces to be actively interested and involved in our lives. This doesn’t mean that I have in any way disproved the first view; it just means that I can’t subscribe to that approach for at least the two reasons above.

The two potential views of synchronicity that I have mentioned above have very different views of causation. Is there really no cause at all (the first view, which is the prevalent view in modern, Western astrology)? Or is it originating from something beyond our lives and the planets and the mysterious bond of synchronicity between them, on some kind of greater or subtler spiritual plane (second view)? Now for the really good part.

Metaphysical Causality

This brings me to what my own theory is of how astrology works, which goes even a step further than the second view above. I’ll call it “metaphysical causality,” as opposed to the ancient kind of physical causality. What I suspect (sense?) is that there is some kind of unseen and active spiritual order that directly and consciously initiates causes into our lives, from this unseen spiritual plane, in timing with the movements of the planets. In other words, I suspect that this unseen and active spiritual order chooses to operate to a large degree within the boundaries of the planets and the astrological system as it actively influences our lives, and that this unseen spiritual order makes sure that the astrological indications appear to “work.” In other words, the spiritual order would work, not through the planets, but in timing with the planets.

If this is the case, we could erroneously assume that the planets are causing things to happen, while the truth would be that the astrological system is actually a coded language and timing system by which the spiritual order that oversees our lives is able to communicate with us, help us understand the past, prepare us for the future, show us who we are more deeply, and educate us about the nature of this reality and our most perfect role within it.

Obviously this is a kind of spiritual belief system that cannot be proven in any tangible way. Then again, scientists haven’t “proven” the existence of a higher spiritual power, and I don’t think we should keep our spiritual lives on hold until they do. In the end, all I can say is that the point of view I’m expressing is what makes the most sense, and feels the most true, to me.

Perhaps, as ours is a realm of duality, certain elements of this unseen and active spiritual order choose to cooperate within somewhat narrow boundaries—astrological indications—as they influence our earthly reality. If this is true, then there is a real cause involved, through the back door, with astrology. It would not be that the planets themselves cause things to happen in our lives. It would be that the unseen spiritual order itself influences things to happen in our lives (a kind of causation), but in deliberate timing with the movements of the planets. The planets, in this view, are simply the clock, and the unseen spiritual order simply influences our lives according to what the clock says the time is appropriate for. If all of this is so, why would the unseen spiritual order choose to operate within such a boundary?

My feeling is that this spiritual order works along with the astrological system, and literally makes the astrological system appear to work for our benefit, to remind us in some way that it is (they are?) there and that everything is unfolding according to some divine plan, and to help us understand ourselves, our relationships, and the course of our lives better. Essentially, I believe that the astrological system is a gift to us from the Creator itself, as one of my greatest teachers, Hilarion, specifically says, because it is one way that the Creator (or the spiritual forces working for the Creator) can communicate with us while we exist in this realm. Those people who are able to find the validity of astrology therefore would have a very powerful tool and boon to work with to help them grow spiritually in this lifetime, thanks to the spiritual order which makes astrology "work" so perfectly.

An Example of Metaphysical Causality

I will offer some more vivid possible examples of how this metaphysical causality approach might work. Let’s assume that human beings have spiritual guides that oversee our lives and help direct our lives from an invisible, spiritual plane. Let’s assume that these guides care about us greatly, and that they watch over us, not unlike the way a human being would watch over his own children. In this view, these guides would study the astrological movements occurring in the chart of the person whose life they are overseeing, and lead this person in certain directions that at least make sense according to what their astrology is indicating.

For example, if you have Taurus or Gemini rising, then your guides would see that Jupiter would enter your 7th house in a few years from now. Based on the way you have lived your life, and the lessons you have or haven’t yet learned in regards to self and relationships, they may or may not be preparing the possibility to have you meet a major life partner around the time when Jupiter enters the 7th house. They would likely be preparing certain ‘tests’ for the time when Jupiter transits your 6th house, to see how fulfilling a relationship your self-esteem will allow you to have; and these tests would almost certainly come in the form of relationships that are not particularly positive for you, or supportive of your self-esteem, and then seeing whether or not you will “settle for” these relationships.

If all of this is the case, it doesn’t mean that when Jupiter would enter the 7th house that the physical planet Jupiter will actually cause you to meet a major life partner; instead, it would mean that your guides will directly influence the direction of your life by bringing you across the path of a person whom you have the strong potential to have a major relationship with, perhaps based on some strong past-life dynamics that exist between the two of you.

By doing all of this, the guides would be working hard to make sure that the astrological system always appears to work, so that it is possible for you to see that astrology works, and then benefit yourself and others by wanting to know more. You, of course, have a great amount of free will in your life, but your life, from this view, is structured within certain boundaries, as dictated by the astrological movements happening within your chart, and it would be your guides, rather than the planets, literally causing this to be so.

Note that in this approach, the planets themselves are not causing anything. It is the spiritual guides that are the causative influence, but the spiritual guides are only influencing things to happen that make sense according to the astrological picture. The planets, in this scenario, are really powerless per se. But it is easy to see how the planets could be misunderstood as possessing the power to cause changes in our lives. In my view, the planets are just the clock that our guides follow as our guides initiate direction in our lives, because they want astrology to appear to work so that some of us will study astrology and offer the benefits of this study to others.

Now, a personal example. I met my wife Molly on May 6, 2000, when Jupiter and Saturn had just crossed my Descendant (Jupiter just four days earlier), and when there were five (almost seven) planets in the 7th sign from my Ascendant (this “whole sign” approach is normally referred to as a whole sign house system, which I feel is equally valid, although in a slightly different way than the other house system I work with, Porphyry). I do not think it was the planets that literally and directly caused me to meet Molly on this day; rather, I feel that my guides arranged things so that we would meet around the time that the planets were in this location. If anything related to astrology was a literal cause of our meeting, I believe it was our guides, rather than the planets themselves.

The Benefits of Metaphysical Causality

One of the practical benefits of this metaphysical causality approach is simply a spiritual one. If we feel that there is a real spiritual order influencing our lives, then we will be more likely to seek some kind of relationship or communication with this spiritual order. If we believe in only astrological-synchronicity, then we are less likely to appeal directly to a spiritual force as we go about the study of astrology, because there is no emphasis on a real, unseen spiritual order actively, directly, and consciously causing energies to ebb and flow in our lives.

The mental benefit of this metaphysical causality model is that we will know that when the planets move, our lives really do change because of some kind of actual cause set in motion on some plane of reality; although again, in my view this cause does not come from the planets themselves, but from the unseen spiritual order that chooses to work with the planets and the astrological system as a kind of clock, in order to communicate with us and help us. Since I personally sense that this is true, I also believe that this metaphysical causality model will allow us to come closer to a more perfect mental understanding of how astrology works, and if this is so, it could only benefit our study and practice of astrology.

The Vedic View

The last thing that I should probably say is that in the field of Vedic astrology, this discussion would not have needed to happen. Vedic astrologers certainly do not ascribe to a synchronistic model of how astrology works, and they have definitely had a kind of metaphysical causality model for millennia. The Indian name for a planet is graha, although the two words do not mean exactly the same thing. A graha is literally “a Seizer, one of a group of astral forces which can enter your organism and take control of your being.” (DeFouw and Svoboda, Light on Life, p.33) The idea is that in Vedic astrology, if you enter a Mars Dasa (time period), the graha Mars is literally seizing your consciousness in some way, for better or worse, according to its nature in your birth chart(s). In Vedic astrology there is also a tradition of remedial measure that one can take to bring out the best of this ‘seizing,’ or to limit its effect on your consciousness. All in all, if it weren’t for the Vedic tradition, I might not even be writing this article.

In The End

In the end, there is probably no way to prove or disprove the astrological-synchronicity model or something like this “metaphysical causality” model. It’s all very theoretical. I suspect that this is just the kind of thing that we can think about, see what makes the most sense and/or feels the most right to us, and go from there. For me, it’s a great exercise in expanding my mind, and remaining in awe and gratitude towards the amazing power that makes astrology "work" so perfectly.

I am convinced of the incredible beauty, substantial validity, and life-transforming power of astrology, and that is why I cannot personally reduce the way it operates to a kind of pure synchronicity. I feel that there is a causative spiritual power behind the apparent synchronicity, and that this causative spiritual power may be actively involved in directly influencing the course of our lives, in keeping with the time clock of the planets traveling around the band of the zodiac. I feel that this astrological system must have been set up by a loving, benevolent spiritual power, in order to help us grow spiritually while sojourning on planet Earth.



Acknowledgements

The further I got with writing this piece, the more I realized how indebted this article is to the works of Hilarion, channeled through Maurice B. Cooke—particularly his book “Astrology Plus.” Some, not all, of the ideas below (particularly in regards to the section on what I call metaphysical causality) come directly from the Hilarion books.