Transpersonal Theory & the Astrological Mandala: An Evolutionary Model by Gerry Goddard
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Evaluating the Mandalic Deep Structure


The Pre-Trans Distinction: "Two Stories" Revisited—a Story: Two Epistemologies:
Romanticism, Idealism and Wilber's Criticisms of Same:
The Developmental Logic of the Astro-transpersonal Model:
The Circle Vertically Projected: Mapping the Outward and Inward Arcs:
Revisioning Wilber's Four-Quadrant Model


The Pre-Trans Distinction

At this point we need to review, restate and re-examine the ideas raised and promises made in the opening chapters. A central promise has been to map the necessary reconciliation and interpenetrative re-uniting which takes place within the first levels of the transpersonal, revealing how the 'higher' trans-egoic structure is fully implicated with the 'lower' levels (relative to the vertical axis) even as it is an unfolding of the higher. Here, the 'lower' contains so much more than is contained within Wilber's 'lower.' Taking us beyond and outside what is illuminated by ordinary 'regression' and descent, the apprehending of this more encompassing 'lower' is that which constitutes the next major 'upward' step in the evolution of consciousness. Our account shows how the somewhat misnamed 'regression in service of transcendence' is a foundational and essential feature of the higher level structure. The original 'repression' and 'alienation' that forms the foundation of the mental-ego is not a repression in the ordinary psychological sense but an archetypal division and separation in terms of which the self unfolds developmentally. As John Nelson describes: "Just as the reasoning ego now reincorporates the heart, the neurological center broadens its locus of control to 'reinfranchise' the limbic system. This is far from regression, however, for the seat of power does not merely relocate from a higher to a lower level, but expands to engage them both in harmonious discourse...from this reunion of intellect and feeling arise the transcendent higher emotions of empathy, compassion, and selfless love." (p.262)

While a structurally 'downward' movement, the developmental trajectory is at the same time, an 'upward' evolutionary movement—an encounter with the new and beyond. This is not a picture of a simple regressive return to prior experienced levels: it is not in violation of the pre-trans distinction because it does not map transcendence as equivalent to a conscious reliving of original unconscious fusion or simply elevate primal potentials to transcendent status. An adequate view does not only allow, but actually requires a mapping of all marginalized or 'secondary' aspects: the feminine, relational connectedness, the 'collective unconscious', the moral and affective dimensions. But in order to adequately map such a trajectory, we have needed to envision the process, not as a 'self' separating from the 'Ground,' but as a 'self' and 'not-self' increasingly separating at successive levels of a broadly developmental holarchy.

Through noospheric level I, consciousness develops as an increasingly individuated phenomenon; consciousness on the Outward arc is individual consciousness, is embodied consciousness. Such a consciousness is founded on and grounded on the body's distinction from other bodies, even though no body is in fact entirely distinct from the natural environment. Individual consciousness develops through its increasing sense of distinction from the other—a distinction which becomes the ground of relationship, but a relationship (7th pr level II) that does not fundamentally challenge the underlying distinction which is, and can be, challenged only at the threshold to the transpersonal levels. When individual consciousness eventually goes trans-individual, it does so by experiencing the bodily, no longer in its materiality and distinction, but in its plenitudinous energic oneness with the natural environment. In Wilber's model the transpersonal levels also integrate with the body levels in a higher synthesis but do so in relation with an already integrated body/mind, not as in some way by-passing the mind to go directly down to the physical bodily/emotional/pranic level.

The entry into the first levels of the transpersonal marks a higher level of awareness not realized in the infant. Since we are not talking of simplistically recapturing infant awareness, there is no pre-trans error being committed here. This step is indeed mapped at a higher point on the vertical axis; the increase in consciousness is mapped at this higher vertical point. Nevertheless, that which occurs in order to realize this higher level state involves a re-engagement of the bodily level which consists, not only of the individual's biography, but of the individual's ontological connection to nature and to the collective at primal and energic levels. What has been 'left down below', so to speak, is not the individual's buried memories but the larger ontological substance of, not only what the person was a limited part of, but also all that in relation to which the person was born and sustained through a dialectical and polar dynamic tension. Therefore, for the person to evolve upward, s/he must become aware of the primal bodily/energy level in its now conscious relation to that which s/he before was not.

A description of the nature of the lower levels is not exhausted by a description of the individual body and its level of consciousness. This noospheric level includes this body and every other body and it includes the interactive patterns among the bodies which inform the growth of individual consciousness for each. At any of these levels, individual consciousness unfolds in dialectical relation to other individuals and to the collective unconscious at that same level. The energy or substance of that level (our level I) is not only individual, it is also collective. Entering the transpersonal level necessarily implies not only an embrace of the individual from all those levels as Wilber would agree, but needs to embrace the entire level. This includes not the sum of all individual others, but the energy that was necessarily walled off in the process of individual growth. Wilber has rightly pointed out that Jung conflated 'collective' with 'transpersonal', but this conflation was not entirely incorrect since the first levels of the transpersonal do involve a flowing together of the individual body energies and the collective unconscious at that primal level which is being 'brought up into' and integrated with the higher.

To break down the necessary either/or boundary on the Outward arc means that one is already coming from a higher and unifying 'both/and' consciousness. Since every real structure is a relationship between self and other, individual and collective, agency and communion, subject/object and subject/subject, and since consciousness at these Outward arc levels does not embrace this relationship but is only partially identified with one pole, the ontological bi-polar reality of the Outward arc level awaits its realization on the Return arc. Therefore, despite Wilber's objections, it is logically implied that consciousness expansion, which is the nature of the transpersonal realm, must involve a necessary downward embrace which brings previously collective unconscious elements into the unifying higher level and trans-individual experience. The bodily sensory level is not just physical in the ordinary sense in which we perceive matter—it is also energy. This energy is what constitutes the collective unconscious at that same level. But this energy at the body sensory level is not consciously embraced until the advent of the transpersonal when the body, the energy, the sensorily informed individual and the collective unconscious at that level begin to flow together.

On the Outward arc consciousness is always a person's consciousness, always embodied, always consciousness of 'something' whether the 'something' is inner or outer. But on the Return arc there ceases to be an exclusive identification with the 'something' (which also, by the way, gives rise to the sense of being a perceiving subject), and consciousness begins to enfold back into itself giving rise to a radically different epistemology growing out of a more integrative balance of subject and object, agency and communion. This 'different epistemology' is actually a higher level synthesis of the two epistemological modes of the Outward arc: the agentic/communal, individual/social bi-polarity of our model manifesting as the interplay of two fundamental epistemological modes—the subject/object differentiating mode and the subject/subject connective mode.

"Two Stories" Revisited—a Story

At one time, in infancy and in the infancy of the species, a magical vitality pervaded every moment. Every act and every natural event was alive with sacred meaning. All nature was a spiritual presence, an unbroken continuum which held and embraced all life within a meaningful whole. Then reason and science came to tear the mythic fabric into pieces, to challenge the old narratives with its rational might. The waters of life fed by the magic of the richly poetic stories that sustained the human psyche receded, leaving a desert where humanity would labour for centuries to build new gardens, new oases, fortified cities, forever dogged by the encroaching sands. "What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow out of this stony rubbish?....You cannot say, or guess, for you know only a heap of broken images, where the sun beats, and the dead tree gives no shelter...and the dry stone no sound of water."1

In our time, many voices are heard, voices of those raised to survive in this desert and voices that hark back nostalgically to an earlier time despite its obvious hardships. Believing that reason and science are responsible for this desertification of the human world, they insist that the old stories contained as much and more truth, a far more important living truth, than is offered by the cold, dead 'stories' of science. These voices try to recapture these living waters by searching through the old myths to recover the lost wisdom, by repeating the old rituals, by turning their backs on reason and science and exhalting nature as the Goddess who was tragically destroyed by the false patriarchal god who would then give way to the moribund god of science.

On the other hand, there are those who believe that we have indeed been living in a desert but insist that it was not science and reason that created the desert; rather, we have always been living in a desert. It was just that before, because of our naivete about the real workings of the natural world, we were able to create comfortable illusions to sustain us, illusions that reason and science came and snatched away. These illusions worked just fine for as long as they did—in fact back then, we had to fashion these stories in order to survive and flourish. They actually formed languages, functional knowledge, and systems of explanation perhaps as sophisticated as our own as many multiculturalists and exponents of indigenous world views now argue. But, as adults, we know that it is worse than useless to try to recover the childhood magic of Santa Claus and the tooth fairy. We need to see the advance we have made through abstraction and find our way through, for this 'dead world' (and the apparently 'living world' before it) is not the only world, not the whole world. There is indeed life beyond the desert, a life which is truer, more sustaining, more real than the original magical projection of the primitive human—a life known by certain mystics who amidst the desert, have gone deeply within and beyond. But this 'beyond' has little to do with the magical enchantment of primitive humanity.

That each of these stories is partly true and partly false has been the guiding thread of our narrative. As we have seen in chapter 3, these are basically the stories described by Tarnas as the two contrary yet complementary narratives of the nature of history: the story of progress and the story of the fall. I maintain that the original magical and vital ocean of existence was indeed more than primitive naivete and projection, more than immature thinking. Further, the desert was indeed caused by reason and science: the living ocean—the free flow of psychic energy—retreated, as reason stamped out all magical and living perception. And in our day, the desert is ever dangerously encroaching on the living breathing organism of Gaia. But the waters did not entirely dry up. Art, music, and poetry became the deep pools where certain persons went to dip down deeply and drink from their magical depths. These deep places of sustenance, these magical oases, fed the culture and irrigated the gardens and cities built in the desert while reason, science and technology would declare the ultimate nature of things to be sand while water was seen as a mere anamoly projected from the still primitive, magical and essentially imaginative 'psyche' of humankind. So the artist came to be seen as providing something that humans need, but not as actually disclosing the nature of things—only evoking the nature of things as we like to see them, not the way they really are.

But contrary to the simple progressive view, the artist—painter, poet, writer, 'artist of life' or anyone in touch with the imaginative faculty deeper than egoic fantasy—is the one who actually preserves the original waters of the spirit, the magical and enchanted mode of perception. It is through his and her subjectivity that the artist can still actually perceive, can still get in touch, existentially, with the living dimension that a hegemonic science destroyed. This psychic energy, this vitality, is the same vitality which the primitives knew, the living breath that the primitives were. Nevertheless, there is a difference. The desertification of human society was an inevitable and necessary evolutionary step. By denuding the concrete and 'outer' world of its magical stories, reason and science drove the living spirit into the 'interior', opening up implicit and unmanifest dimensions knowable only by the new individual who had been formed largely by abstract thought. Science claimed its rightful territory, but vanquished the magical and the mythical to the edges of existence. Art became nicely contained within the allegedly 'epistemologically vacuous' bounds of 'mere' subjectivity—demeaned as the aesthetic 'fantasies' of the individual that needed to be brushed out of the way when entertainment ended and we needed to see the 'truth'. But in order for these individuals, wandering in the desert and occasionally drinking from the wells of art, to find their way back to the living waters deep within, they need to see through the hegemonic falsehood of science and reason despite its legitimacy—to comprehend the scorching power of exclusive abstraction.

The language of the interior is metaphor, symbol and myth; a pure felt experience and an engagement of the archetypes. Metaphor is not less than science, not derivative of dead matter. The individual subjective interior leads on through to disclose dimensionalities within which the concrete world of science, as one domain, is enfolded. On this journey we do not go back, we do not reject science and regressively re-establish the old cosmologies and cosmogonies of the natural world. We do not give up our individuality and become tribal, moving together as an instinctual group mind. We go within to deeply taste the waters there, knowing that it is the interiority beyond 'mere' subjectivity which itself reveals the larger nature of things, including the world described by science. On this journey, we recover the waters and expand the regions of our living experience. We reclaim that which had become marginalized and diminished. We find our way out of the dry desert of conceptual abstraction. To do so, we have to rediscover, to reown, to reclaim, to reexpereince in order to expand deeper and beyond—at once an upward and a downward movement along the trajectory of evolution.

Two Epistemologies

The problem with both these views—progress and the fall—is that each privileges a fundamental epistemological mode as primary, as the only way in which reality can be accurately known. The story of the fall sees the separation of the subject and the object as the basis of all the trouble, a schism in the nature of things, an ‘affliction’ in the heart of a reality which is more 'truly' known through an immediate participation. The story of progress—even a spiritualized version such as Wilber's—sees participation as an infantile and less developed stage of subject/object differentiation, a process which reaches maturity only in formal operational thinking. Then and only then, are we able to transcend formal cognition through vision logic, unifying concept and symbol through a higher synthesis. In other words, a la Piaget, we start with undifferentiated emotion and magical thinking, and then somewhat later, advance to concrete reasoning: then we mature through the subject/object differentiations of conceptual abstraction to optimally progress beyond that to more integral modes of knowing and being. But viewing the matter in terms of this single cognitive string implies that Wilberian vision logic is a further development of the capacity for abstraction, whereas it is actually an integration of two equally significant and parallel threads—two fundamental modes of cognition.

The story of evolutionary and historical development as told by Wilber is that the more sophisticated subject/object way of knowing came to replace the earlier dominant but primitive mode of 'participation'. According to Wilber, the mature subject/object distinction accomplished the differentiation of dimensions which had been previously undifferentiated in an original state of participation and magical thinking (which was true enough, but not the whole story). This leads to a narrowly linear model which stamps out all the legitimate intuitions and insights of the other camp—the Romantics, neo-Jungians, indigenous holists, ecofeminists (not to mention astrologers!) etc. As I have explicated it throughout the book, our model involves a different epistemological understanding of original 'fusion' and the historical process of differentiation.

It is an oversimplification to describe the original state as the undifferentiated fusion of subject and object, self and other, where subject and object become increasingly distinct and then eventually are drawn back together and reintegrated. Although the dominant mode of Outward arc consciousness is that of an ever more complex differentiation of subject and object, such occurs within a deeper dialectical context. Our astrological model maps the fundamental dialectic between two poles: the self/other relationship known through the subject/object distinction on the one hand, and the self/other relationship known through a subject/subject connectedness and resonance on the other. While the subject/object mode is all too familiar—especially aligned as it is with the agentic will to power and control—I mean by the subject/subject mode an immediate connectivity and a direct resonance between facets of an experienced continuum, an inclusive presence where the differentiation of 'I' and 'other' is secondary, a mode that is not exclusively understood either as transcendent and mystical or as magically infantile.

We have seen that Outward arc consciousness occurs through the principle of distinction standing out as figure while the principle of connection functions as background. Of course, as has been shown, the dialectical relation is more complex than this. Hence, we must say that from the beginning consciousness of humans, two fundamental ways of knowing were fused and predifferentiated—the subject/object mode and the subject/subject mode; not simply the predifferentiated fusion of subject and object. In our model these two epistemological modes are related to the agentic and communal principles which through the patriarchal period have tended to divide along gender lines, the agentic mode being the dominant mode or value standard. This distinction is essentially Buber's distinction between the I/It and the I/Thou relations. Our model correctly requires both of these epistemological modes to be mapped: it is not limited only to the subject/object mode, the mode which, in bi-polar Outward arc fashion, actually developed historically from the Greeks through modernity. (Notwithstanding global patriarchy, the subject/subject mode was less denied in Eastern thought showing up particularly in Taoism and in the esoteric teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism)

'Original fusion' is not to be understood as identical with participation; rather, original fusion is the as yet undifferentiated enfoldment of both epistemological modes. The modern era brought the great differentiations; first, Descartes with his mind and matter, subject and object distinctions; then, Kant with his more sophisticated distinction of the phenomenal and the noumenal (and as well, the distinctions of the aesthetic, moral, and scientific domains). But the great differentiation that defines the modern era is not to be understood as solely the differentiation of subject and object; the latter differentiation presupposes the differentiation of subject/object knowing (agency) and subject/subject knowing (communion) reaching back at least to the Hebrews and the Greeks. But with the great differentiation of the modern era—Descartes to Kant—it was indeed the subject/object mode which came into emphasis, marginalizing the subject/subject mode which has continued to be marginalized even when not relegated to the status of primitive fusion (this despite the archetypal coming-back-into-balance of the Day and Night forces through later stage II). This marginalizing process is implicit in the Outward arc mode of development that we have been describing in this book.

The modern differentiation actually meant that the subject/subject mode became the de-emphasized pole of the epistemologically enfolded pair, the subject/object appearing as 'figure', the subject/subject appearing as 'background'. The problematic separation of science and values—the fact/value distinction and the problem of deriving the‘ought’ from the ‘is’—arises not from a subject/object differentiation which 'had gone too far' as Wilber maintains, but from a distinction of the two fundamental modes of knowing where the one becomes, in agentic-dominant 'either/or' Outward arc fashion, hegemonic over the other.

But the further development of consciousness has indeed depended on the differentiation which occured in the modern era. Since further development was, almost exclusively, of the subject/object mode, the subject/subject mode has not similarly developed and has, from the point of view of mainstream culture and consciousness, been devalued. It became a 'lesser' mode attributed to women, children, primitives, Romantics, and 'purely subjective' artists which is seen, from the subject/object perspective, as only the primal and primitive way of knowing—the 'regressive fusion' which Wilber accuses Romantics of committing. But original fusion or predifferentiation, which was indeed primal and even 'primitive' if you like, was not subject/subject knowing per se, but the pre-differentiated fusion of subject/subject and subject/object modes of knowing.

The historically unprecedented higher level which lies ahead on the evolutionary path, is the integration of these two epistemological modes. But before we can integrate these two modes, they must both become differentiated on the same footing. Therefore, we are going to have to 'go back', to pick up again, acknowledge and express the lost and alienated mode of knowing—the task of the advanced 6/12 phase. The higher or trans-egoic epistemology is an integration of both of these modes as an equal bi-polarity. Given the path that historical development has taken, we are indeed looking ahead to levels of consciousness where, hopefully, both epistemological modes have become differentiated and integrated at a higher level. It is important to see that the subject/subject mode of knowing, just as it is not necessarily childish or primitive is neither exclusively 'up there ahead', a solely higher level of the chain with emergent properties of communion, telepathy, and mystical union with nature. That higher level is indeed constituted by an integration of both epistemic modes.

Rather than a departure from some 'optimum development' where the one mode is seen as 'unfortunately' marginalizing the other, it was inevitable that the subject/object mode moved to front and centre. (It would have been desirable that it not do so with such destructive 'excess', but our egalitarian humanistic ethical evaluations cannot really be applied to evolution before the advent of the mature-ego). But now the time has come to reclaim the other mode and begin to integrate both modes. So we are not saying that the subject/subject way should have been equally honoured along with the development of the subject/object differentiation. Rather, we need now to see the ontological equivalence in polar difference of the subject/subject and subject/object ways of knowing, and we can only begin to see that from the point of view of the mature 6th/12th stage.

In terms of what has come to be called 'epistemological pluralism', the recognition of multiple 'modes of knowing'—rational, empirical, imaginative, emotional, somatic, aesthetic, moral, empathic—I am not simplistically identifying one pole solely with the rational-empirical and relegating all the other modalities to the other pole. I am asserting that with the increased dominance of the subject-object pole over the subject-subject pole the epistemological richness with which we engage 'reality' and invite 'reality' to be, is severely restricted to the disenchanting rational-empirical mode as the sole discloser of ‘truth’. The full richness of epistemological pluralism—including the rational-empirical now freed of its will-to-power—is not exclusively subject-subject but rather emerges with the reclamation of the subject/subject mode. The subject/object and subject/subject modes of knowing are now coming into balance. When examined as an object, the universe becomes an object; when acknowledged as a subject, the universe becomes a subject. The existence and interplay of both these ways of approaching ‘reality’ give rise to the full spectrum of knowing and being.2

Romanticism, Idealism and Wilber's Criticisms of Same

In terms of our dual epistemology, the essence of the Romantic opposition to Enlightenment Reason can be defined as the proclaiming of the equal (or even 'greater' from the Romantic point of view) significance of the subject/subject epistemology for disclosing ‘reality’ and its refusal to be devalued and marginalized. In equating the essence of the Romantic impulse with the regressive urge to fusion against the Kantian forward development, Wilber devalues and marginalizes the Romantic way of knowing, extracting from it only the way of art, thus reducing its larger meaning as does the modern mind—which is precisely the reductionist problem that we are facing.

Wilber (1995, 1999) makes the apparently reasonable claim that the Idealists (Fichte, Schelling, Hegel. And one might add, Bosanquet, Bradley and Royce later on) failed to make any real difference to history, failed to successfully challenge the prevailing naturalistic and positivistic paradigm, because they lacked an injunctive practice (like meditation) which could radically change consciousness rather than simply re-ordering the ideas within consciousness. But for one thing, as an essential player in history, such philosophical idealism belongs to the earlier phase of the 6th/12th structure and hence, the issue of meditative practice is irrelevant to its legitimacy and force. Rather, insofar as Idealism may be said to have ‘failed’, it is because it did not integrate the valid essence of the Romantic position—not just intellectually but experientially. Though not adequately articulated as such historically, Romanticism represented the subject/subject epistemological mode which, given the subject/object differentiation, looked toward a new level of participation. Though it contained a 'participatory' element in its thinking derived from Kantian constructivism (i.e. the view that our perceptual structures determine the form of reality), German Idealism essentially grew out of the Kantian differentiations which were already constellated around the Cartesian subject/object epistemological pole. The metaphysical logic applied by Schelling and Hegel is a dialectical expression of the agentic subject/object epistemology and not of the subject/subject epistemology or the interrelation of these epistemic modes. What remains valid within Hegelian and similar philosophy indeed paradigmatically resonates with new paradigm thought as the post-feminist theoretical and intellectual cultural threshold to the Return arc.

Wilber (1995, 1999) devalues the current 'new paradigm' 'holistic' thinkers (alleged Lower Right Quadrant reductionists—see the Four-Quadrant model, chapter 3), but in doing so he fails to appreciate the validity of the Romantic subject/subject epistemology inherent in their position. He reduces 'new paradigm' thinking to an objectifying holistic systems-science perspective, and then, recognizing the 'new paradigmers' commonality with the Romantics, reduces such thinking to a necessarily regressive position. He describes the formative forces of our time as the Kantian differentiation of science, art and religion/morality (the 'Big Three'); a differentiation foundational to the 'good news' of our era, namely, universal reason, human rights, more accurate knowledge etc. The 'bad news' is allegedly the result of this differentiation going 'too far' into dissociation, as if it were a bit of bad luck that the developmentally optimum turned sour. But I don't think many would claim that the Kantian differentiations are the source of the modern diremption; rather they are a set of secondary differentiations which would further skew culture. He describes the problem correctly enough, but only partially, as the dominance of the objective Outer over the subjective Inner; the 'It' world over the 'I' world and the 'We' world—the ‘flatland collapse’ of the Great Chain of Being. For Wilber, this identifies the major problem which needs to be corrected.

But in order to correctthe hegemonic imbalance of one foundational pole over the other, as we must, we need to resurrect, not just an Inner alongside an Outer, but the pole of subject/subject knowing. Contrary to the urge to name the subject/subject way of knowing as solely tribal group-mind and infantile fusion on the one hand, or to explain it as a higher level dialogical relationship of post-Enlightenment subjects on the other, the subject/subject way of knowing must be differentiated as an ontologically equal partner to the subject/object mode even as it has played a secondary role on the Outward arc. Then person-to-person dialogue and communion ('being-with') as well as peoples' communion with nature will grow out of both of these fundamental ways of knowing. The 'we' mode of dialogical intersubjectivity as it is defined by Wilber is possible only on the basis of the prior inner/outer, subject/object differentiation. But dialogical intersubjectivity (on the mental-egoic level) is not subject/subject knowing, but an interaction of selves constituted by the subject/object epistemology. In terms of Wilber’s Four Quadrant Model, dialogical intersubjectivity does correctly fall in his collective/cultural quadrant (Lower left), but it is here where his 'four-quadrant' model shows itself inadequate to map the developmental holonic dialectic. The integration being called for at the beginning of the Return arc is not an entirely new epistemological mode, a higher level communal or connective knowing. It involves a picking up, from the lower levels, from out of its marginalized unconsciousness, the thread of subject/subject knowing which now comes to stand on the same level as subject/object knowing. In this way, a true integration of agency and communion becomes possible.

The Developmental Logic of the Astro-transpersonal Model

The multi-leveled structure of the astro-transpersonal model is different in important respects from Wilber's view which maps the levels in a linear and successive fashion where each level includes and ideally integrates with its subordinate level before a new level unfolds, albeit each wave or level mapped in terms of a number of different lines, e.g. cognitive, affective, moral etc. In this more complex pluralistic view of self we cannot describe a person (or collective) as situated simply at a particular level, but only at, for example, the third with respect to affective development while at the fifth with respect to cognitive development and so on. The astrological model, of course, includes this feature of the complex self or society spread across the various levels and lines. Without denying the broad sequential stages and the emergence at the leading edge of development of new deep structures, our model postulates a different ontological relation of stage-structures to levels. As explained in chapter 6, in the astrological model the deep structures unfold both horizontally and vertically so that each structure, rather than being optimally subsumed within the next higher deep structure, goes on developing at higher levels as new and higher deep structures emerge through later stages. That is, the nature of the stage-structure when it becomes first established at its latest and highest level, is at a lower level of evolution than it will manifest when the locus moves onto the next stage-structure. For example, through stage-level I, by the time of the emergence of phase 3/9, the dynamic, instinctual, and spontaneous first principle becomes enfolded, not directly within the verbal phase 3/9, but is rather ‘layered over’ so it speak by phase-level 3/9 operating through the first principle will and action, now as considered and conceptually modified action (V3:1/7 in Grid diagram Fig 13). So what is called first principle will or volition is modified up to level 3/9 but is not enfolded within the verbal-conceptual stage-level 3/9 structure. Similarly, 4/10 governmental/authority structures become democratized under the the rule of law once the 5/11 rational/modernist structure becomes established. So now there is a level v5 mapped at phase 4/10 (also at Stage 3 back to one). Then once the locus moves into the more psychologically sophisticated and epistemologically post-modern 6/12 phase, axis 5/11,v6 comes to include such post-conventional modes as individually determined self-esteem, free creative self-expression, and full self-actualization for both men and women.


We need at least two axes in order to (1) map both evolutionary and devolutionary paths within any emergent stage-structure, (2) differentiate between optimal and ‘lesser’ characteristics of a new emergent stage and (3) differentiate between actual pathological regressions to lower structures and ‘regression-in-service-of-the-ego‘ (a spontaneous healing crisis or a deliberate strategy employed in sixth principle therapy in order to effect a positive psychological development). In Fig 13 the vertical axis plots the direction of emerging and complexifying consciousness formed by the overarching dialectics while the horizontal axis plots the stages unfolding through history which archetypally inform the identifiable biological and psycho-social structures describable by the physical and social sciences. The confluence of the axes marks the evolutionary trajectory as it prescribes the emergent deep structures. When the number of the stage corresponds to the number of the level, then we see the emergence of a new deep structure or stage-level. So our model differentiates between the level (or level-structure) of consciousness and the historical stage (or stage-structure) that the collective and/or the individual has reached.

When a particular stage has been reached by a society that can be characterized by a newly emergent set of general features that make up that society, people and groups can be mapped at various levels of the same stage-structure (that is, within the same individual or within the same society). An adequate evolutionary model must be capable of mapping the relationship of evolutionary and devolutionary trajectories, both optimum modes and destructive or ‘lesser’ modes occurring within the same historical context. These ‘lesser’ modes cannot be attributed simply to the earliest or lowest phases of any emergent deep structure since, for one thing, such ‘lesser’ features tend to appear also at later phases of the structure. In a nested model (such as Wilber’s) and despite its later pluralistic mapping across various lines (and other later features such as the AQAL system), since successive stages and structures are centered around a single vertical evolutionary axis, 'lesser', destructive or devolutionary behaviour is constrained to be mapped as a downward movement from later and higher deep structures to earlier and lower deep structures. But any devolutionary movement, rather than a collapse down through lower level deep structures (except through severe regressive collapse of an individual, a group, or a whole culture) as implied by Wilber’s model, should be mapped at different levels of the same deep archetypal stage-structure. So-called ‘lesser’ modes of any current stage-structure need to be understood centrally in terms of the current period and its characteristic overarching archetypal morphology. A grade 10 student reading at a grade 6 level is different from a grade 6 student reading at a grade 6 level; to simply map on a grid in the grade 6 slot the reading capacity of this particular grade 10 student is to entirely miss the larger significance of the reading disability of that student. That is too say, any particular level tends to take on the general form dictated by the current archetypally informed stage, where the current stage is not exhaustively described as solely the highest emergent deep structure.

To cite another example, the so-called pathologies of the modernist paradigm cannot be adequately described simply as action from, or a ‘falling back down’ into the medieval paradigm as such, because these pathologies, though they have their root in earlier stage-structures, are born of the modernist paradigm and its unique world. For example, the explorations of the new world with their concomitant atrocities were integral with Rennaisance perspectivalism and science which represented a step beyond the medieval structure; colonial genocide exists along with the laying of the foundations of human rights; rampant commercialization in a techno-capitalist driven postmodern global network exists along with the possibility of a global multilateralism in a post-sexist and post-racist 6/12 world. Simply put, patterns of violent destructiveness in the patriarchal modern period (phase 5/11) cannot be simply equated with violence at the pre-patriarchal tribal stage 1/7:v1, since phase 5/11 violence must be seen as essentially level v1 translated into the more complex terms of phase 5/11 including misogyny not present (at least in the same way) in pre-patriarchal stages. Inter-tribal violence at level v1 cannot properly be called pathological since it is a part of the developmental movement, whereas at phase 5/11 it is devolutionary or pathological, and if playing too major a role in phase 5/11, tends to a exert a downward pull on the upward evolutionary trajectory. In Figure 13 we would situate such a downward pull at v1:5/11.

On this grid which is a partial projection of the astrological model, we can map devolutionary as well as evolutionary trajectories of individuals and socio-cultural groupings within their current paradigm or deep structure. We can picture a downward movement within a deep structure that does not simply collapse back into previous structures but will likely at sometime recover its progressive trajectory. When a new structure first evolves such as v4:4/10, there is much of the population still at earlier stages, but as time passes more and more of the population becomes informed and constituted by that structure. But the modes of experience and behaviour in terms of that structure may be at lower levels, even downwardly moving as the scope of upward and downward movement increases. Following stage 4/10 with the rise of democracy, we see an increasing differentiation of culture and power which had been relatively fused prior to 5/11. In 5/11 the masses, largely situated at levels v2 and v3 in phase 4/10, begin to be lifted up and participate in power, but simultaneously the centre of power tends to be pulled down beneath the cultural line through the developments of techno-capitalism through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. With the Middle Ages, we see the upward evolutionary force in dialectical tension with the downward gravity of levels v1, v2 and v3 at stage 4/10. But these forces not only threaten to hold back development, they also become a part of the dialectic which results in the upward establishment of a new deep structure, e.g. the way in which 17th and 18th century humanistic-democratic stage 5/11:v5 becomes established as the protest against Church and aristocratic hegemony and oppression.

This disjunction between the emergent 6/12 paradigm and the structures of economic and political power (largely at levels 4 and 5 in early stage 6) is now reaching crisis proportions. At 6/12 presently, the emergent world form is increasingly of a 6/12 character but a large number of the population, even in the generally literate democracies, are still situated predominantly at 4/10 and 5/11.3 Nevertheless, an increasing number are expressing higher levels of 6/12 even as many others moving into 6/12—the general population shaped by 6/12 technologies, the breakdown of old religious and moral structures, globalization and fragmentation—are expressing lower levels of the structure. Now it appears that the world as a whole may be being deflected downward by the massive reactionary force (4/10 and 5/11) which refuses the evolutionary imperative.

The forces compelling a bending down of the developmental trajectory (devolution) through the current 6/12 stage-structure—the reactionary entrenchment of a majority at conservative-conventional 4/10 and techno-capitalist 5/11—have increased and the teleological pull toward 7/1, although decisively felt by an increasing number, still by no means engages, as yet, a large enough number to sufficiently counter the downward deflection through 6/12. In our day, in Stage 6/12:v6, the downward pull of continued gross industrialization such as excessive use of nonrenewable resources and anti-human capitalism exert a downward pull from v5:6/12 while religious fundamentalisms exert a downward pull from v4:6/12 (and even v2 &3).

In the grid diagram (Fig 13) I have drawn the evolutionary arc schematically, but actually if we combine the horizontal axis of stage sequences with a time axis we get an ideal or optimal path of evolution more as a parabolic curve so that, for example, the sweep of the developmental line through sections one and two represents a longer period of time relative to the degree of vertical development (the pressures of complexifying consciousness and learning) than its sweep through sections three to five. (See Fig 14) But we need to remember that any section of the evolutionary trajectory is constituted by gradually ascending cycling spirals through time, indicating a third axis not show in the diagram. This way of plotting the evolutionary trajectory simply demonstrates the acceleration of consciousness development so that as evolution proceeds into the modern and postmodern phases, humanity is under building pressure to quickly awaken and evolve up to sixth level consciousness (v6, 6/12).


Actually, our mapping also provides a response to those who are critical of the evolutionary paradigm in either of its forms discussed in this book on the basis that the mounting pathologies over the last centuries mitigate against such a notion. This arises from the naïve view that if evolution, beyond random and naturalistically determined variation, is a valid notion, then things should be getting better and better. The argument goes that even if we move from simple awareness to self reflexivity, from magic to myth to concept, this is by no means an advance (or for that matter, neither a degeneration from some more ideal state) since it obviously produces vast problems which seem insoluble and will probably render humans extinct. But our model shows how each stage inevitably produces upward and downward movements or forces where there is no guarantee that the upward movement will ultimately triumph over the downward, especially at this critical period leading up to the Return arc threshold. If this triumph does not happen then it will have been a failure to develop optimally, to realize the higher potential of things. The terrible state of things at present, the presence of the downward movement, is simply no logical argument against an evolutionary conception such as demonstrated in our model. To deny evolution is to deny that we have an obligation, an imperative to fulfill our moral and spiritual potential both as individuals and as a species.

The Circle Vertically Projected: Mapping the Outward and Inward Arcs

At the midpoint of the grand evolutionary process as pictured in our model, from absolute unconsciousness to absolute consciousness, there is a radical change of direction. The two foundational ontological categories defined by the 180 degree change in direction are of course the manifest domains and the transpersonal domains. The two dimensional graph (Fig. 15) plots the trajectory of the development of consciousness as a function of both successive structure (the archetypal principles) and evolutionary level of consciousness. It is through a dynamically effortful and building process of ever more complex structures that the highest point on an outward movement is reached. Although biological evolution has produced animal forms which level out yet continue to survive, a merely extended levelling of the trajectory of human consciousness seems to be no longer an option at this point since the industrial and post-industrial information ages are too environmentally destructive; the next evolutionary step demands a radical shift in the human species. A radical change of direction is necessary for evolutionary movement along the vertical axis to continue. The survival of human and other complex species is at stake, apparently precluding directional-horizontal stasis. To continue further in this direction would likely mean that the human life form would eventually begin to devolve along the vertical axis. This is precisely the call of the most sophisticated spiritual teachings pointing us toward 'being values' and a new contemplative practice of transformative awareness rather than a continued Promethean building.


In Fig 15 we see that the vertical axis is divided into two main sections: the first and bottom half denotes development up to the point that an increasing number of people and the most advanced cultures (recognition of human rights, liberal secular democracy etc.) seem to be approaching, roughly speaking, at the present time. It is these structures which when fully in place through the Outward arc of development undergo a process of deconstruction and deep transformational absorption through the stages and levels of higher and ever more rarified transcendent modes of consciousness. The second and top half denotes the transpersonal dimensions, fundamentally different in kind and related to the first and bottom half in a way that is different from the way that the substructures within the two halves are related to each other. In relation to the vertical axis, optimum development is unidirectional as in Wilber's model. But in relation to the horizontal axis, there is a 180 degree change in the direction of development at the vertical midpoint.

Within the broad and formal definition of holarchy as an asymmetry of containment where the higher contains the lower but the lower does not contain the higher, these two fundamental dimensionalities stand in a holarchical rather than a dual or polar relation, preserving the perennialist 'height' feature of our model. Within the manifest dimensionality (physical, emotional and mental structures) a shift of polarity takes place at the midpoint differentiating structure-level I and structure-level II. But the way in which the transpersonal levels embrace and enfold the manifest levels is logically and ontologically distinct from the way in which conceptual level II stands above, yet is relatively integrated with, sensory-body level I.

But the two-dimensional graph (Fig 15), though not wrong, is still not adequate to map the evolutionary process because in its counter path above the initial stages it apparently shows that the transformative deconstruction constituting the first levels of the transpersonal involves a deconstructive transformation of the highest levels of the Outward arc first. In meditation the process of ongoing psycho-social building through chains of thought does indeed cease; the surface thinking is quieted, but such a mental quieting is illustrated by the 180 degree change of direction on the horizontal axis. The initial quieting of thought does not constitute the first structure-levels of the transpersonal domain. The nature-psychic and subtle domains—by general consensus, the first levels of the transpersonal—are obviously something entirely different from thinking encountering itself in meditational watchfulness. Meditation does not work this way—it anchors first to the deepest organic level, the breath, and then more deeply discovers the pranic essence of the inner and outer movement of the breath and the energic essence of what, on the surface, is physiological sensation. As it does so, the successive levels are brought to rest from the primal emotive to the conceptual-verbal; namely, stages 1 through 6. Only by anchoring first at the cellular breath level (the core of organic life) can the thoughts that arise break free of their normal compulsive chain building—signified by the right hand movement along the horizontal axis. If we view the astrological model from the side we actually get figure 15, but in such a two dimensional viewing there is obviously a third dimension which is missing. Level 7 appears to sit directly over level 6, level 8 appears over level 5 etc. Providing this third dimensionality is precisely what the astrological bi-polar cycle is capable of doing, and an adequate mapping of this third dimension has been exactly what we have been explicating throughout the book—See Fig 16.


So a dynamic and dialectical process informs complex structures at each discrete stage and level which are mapped onto the vertical axis, a formative process which is precisely the twelve-fold map explicated at each level. Thus we avoid the central inadequacy of the Wilber model which gives rise to all the arguments against his hierarchy and to his counter accusations as to pre-trans confusions. There is nothing wrong with the idea of hierarchy or holarchy—on the contrary, as Wilber asserts, there is everything right with it—but it depends how adequately it is articulated. Without these three equally important axes, this fundamental truth is lost as in Wilber's model. The astro-transpersonal model incorporates all three axes equally rather than trying to map all the necessary dimensions onto one primary axis.

Although the astro-transpersonal model is a holarchic model, it is centrally different from Wilber's model also in the respect that we are acknowledging different logical senses of 'holarchy'. For example, we cannot say that stage-structure 4 (see Fig 13) , holarchically contains stage-structure 3 nor that level 4v holarchically contains level 3v and 2v, even though 3 in both cases necessarily presupposes 1 and 2. We can say that the square formed by v4/h4 holarchically contains the square formed by v3/h3. But this structure is more like a stratification with interlinkings among structures such as the higher and lower structures of the brain than like the holarchic structure of the cell constituted by atomic and molecular structures. But Wilber takes the stratified science models—the bio-physical, social and logical holarchies described by science—as paradigmatic for the total ontological hierarchy. There is indeed the objective and structural sense of holarchic inclusion where atoms are parts of higher order molecules which are parts of higher order cells etc. But then there is the somewhat different sense in which conceptual thinking is a higher order than concrete thinking which is higher than imaging and emoting and so on, but Wilber maps these side by side in his Four Quadrant model implying (I believe incorrectly) that they are of the same logical type. Put in another way, formal operational cognition stands to concrete operational cognition in a different logical sense than thinking stands to emoting, but Wilber has ranked them in a single hierarchical sequence. Then there is the third and 'highest' sense of holarchy—and this is not stratifying and further building, but a radically deconstructive and transformative process—in which the transpersonal dimensions stand in holarchic relation to the manifest bio-psycho-social levels. In addition to this, as discussed in chapter 16, the astrological model shows a special relation between transpersonal level III and level I, and between level IV and level II thus breaking with any singularly sequential account of holarchy.

Revisioning Wilber's Four-Quadrant Model

Not a construction of human theory but an assemblage from a long empirical tradition of archetypally significant observations associating human traits and the twelve signs, the astrological mandala, as we know, also has four quadrants to be understood in bi-polar terms. The astrological Lower and Upper hemispheres refer to the individual/collective distinction—the same as the Upper individual and Lower social Quadrants of Wilber’s model, but in reverse. Wilber’s Left hand quadrants refer to experiential interiors while his Right hand quadrants refer to objective and behavioural exteriors. In chapter 20 I have offered a critical analysis of this Left/Right feature in terms of the actual mind/body relation and suggested an alternative mapping. There I claim that a quadrant or hemisphere cannot be labled literally as interior or exterior, experiential or concrete. The Interior/Exterior distinction is itself a function of the subject/object epistemology which is but one pole in the larger four-fold holonic structure all the way down. The Outward arc is the story of the predominance of the agentic subject/object epistemology over the communal subject/subject epistemology. Interestingly, if we look at the astrological mandala holonically through the lens of the subject/object epistemology (that is, if we adopt the imbalance which is the Outward arc of development), then we can actually begin to see, with some qualification, that the four quadrant/four hemispheric structure of the mandala actually resonates with Wilber's four-fold modelling seen, not as an answer to the mind/brain relation but as complementary ways of viewing things.

In our revised modelling (see chapter 20), the Eastern (Left hand) and Western (Right hand) hemispheres of the astrological mandala denote two epistemic modes of the fundamental relationship of holon and holon: East as the subject/object epistemology and agentic individual; West as the subject/subject epistemology and the communal individual. In this way, we see that East comes to acquire a more individual objective character than West while West comes to acquire a more experiential and shared subjective character than East. But this understanding of East and West is not equivalent to Wilber's Right and Left categories. That is, we are not here labelling East as literally experienced world/energy/brain state and West as experience. Rather, each and every category of the astrological mandala can be seen both as object and subject, mind and brain, experience and behaviour. The so-called mind-body relation as I have argued in chapter 20 cannot be adequately mapped across four holonic quadrants.

We know that primal individuality (stage-level I or N1) is sensory, bodily-based, actional, world-directed, 'outwardly' focussed, namely, the selfhood of the first quadrant, a powerful selfhood not yet aware of its own interiority. We know that the astrological second quadrant denotes the later awakening and development of individual conscious interiority—that which arises out of the depths of individual psyche. The psychic depths of original humans is pre-individual, a group mind, so that the psychic life of the first-quadrant individual, though driven by bio-instinctual organismic drives, is integral with the group mind, namely, the third quadrant. Consequently, it appears that the concept of the depths of psyche, of experiential meanings and values does apply to the Western quadrants. Yet at the same time, the third quadrant can be seen as clearly 'outside' in the sense that it is radically social, and in the original and indigenous forms of society signifies a mode of experience-action-social interrelationship that is fully situated in nature rather than alienated from nature as in later developments. So we see here that there is no simple correspondence with Wilber's map because his map is based on a modern conception that neatly divides subjectivity and objectivity whereas the astro-transpersonal map traces the process and dynamics of the formation of such a conception while pointing beyond it.

Notwithstanding these differences, I nevertheless think it is interesting to pursue this line of comparison with Wilber's modelling in terms of the processive and developmental nuances suggested by the astrological model. Reflecting Wilber's Four-Quadrant model at the most fundamental archetypal level, the Eastern hemisphere can be seen as how things 'show up' to an outside observer, to a scientist making objective and statistical observations, namely Wilber's Right Hand quadrants. We can then describe the Eastern quadrants as objective where the first quadrant is largely observable and describable in biological and behavioural terms and the fourth quadrant largely observable and describable in historico-political and structuralist-functionalist terms. Correspondingly, the Western hemisphere denotes the realm of experience constituted by meanings, values and agreements, namely Wilber's Left Hand quadrants. We can describe the Western hemisphere as the depths and interiors of psyche which can be inferred but not known from the point of view of the 'outside' observer, but with the qualification that the third quadrant is seen as including what to the modern is the objective natural souroundings as well as the social group.

So ontologically prior to our developmental and processive account and prior to the manifest forms of signs and houses in the chart of a person, we can see that the archetypal categories of the astrological mandala appear to be resonant to the holonic categories explicated by Wilber, though with important differences. But the Eastern hemisphere does not denote nature and objectivity literally with the Western hemisphere denoting mind and subjectivity. Rather, we can say that human consciousness of the modern sort when focussed on the Eastern archetypal domain discloses objectivity—natural, bodily, concrete in the first quadrant; objective abstract pattern in the fourth quadrant. When focussed on the Western domain, group experience, that is, collective interiority, is in emphasis in the third quadrant, while individual private interiority is in evidence in the second quadrant. Consequently, in terms of our mapping of the historical formation of patriarchy, male dominance within the Eastern hemisphere (Left) is archetypally informed, not only by male agency but by the inclination toward the objective pole, that which stands outside of interiority and subjectivity. Correspondingly the feminine inclination to the Western hemisphere (Right) is informed not only by female connectiveness but by the inclination toward interiority and feeling depth. So viewed in this way, our bi-polar model is actually a quadra-polar model compelling us toward an ontological mapping which moves through stage-level I from 1/7:4/10 to 2/8:5/11 to 3/9:6/12 and through stage-level II from 4/10:1/7 to 5/11: 2/8 to 6/12:3/9.

Viewing the astrological mandala in terms of this four-quadrant structure we might possibly describe something like the following:

Phase 1. In terms of the Northern individual hemisphere somewhat resonant with Wilber's Individual Upper Quadrants, where the first principle denotes the actional behaviour of the human organism, the fourth would denote the still almost complete unconsciousness of the individual's interiority. Expressed in other terms linking subject and object we might say that Aries assertion/aggression etc. could also be seen as more deeply Cancerian survival and self protection. Correspondingly, in terms of the Southern hemisphere somewhat resonant with Wilber's social Lower Quadrants, the seventh would denote the group mind which is the matrix of affect and shared meaning while the tenth would denote the observable and objective form of the small tribal unit. In other terms, the Libran community experience is grounded on Capricornian structural functioning of systems (food gathering, shelter etc) in relation to the natural environment.

Phase 2. Where the second principle denotes the individual's increased body-world awareness in the farming phase, the fifth denotes the still subconscious individual pride, and nonselfconscious individual creative productivity. In other terms, Taurean satisfaction of basic needs occurs along with the need for Leo status in the group, being special (the pecking order). Correspondingly, the eighth signifies the more complex cultural and affective group-mind while the eleventh would signify the more populous and complex social-behavioural patterns and village structure (as an anthropologist would observe and describe). In other terms, Scorpionic development of tribal culture manifests as complex Aquarian social functions.

Phase 3: In this transitional phase, the third principle signifies the individual's developing capacity for logic, language, basic problem solving and learning originally in relation to the immediate natural environment, while the sixth principle marks the gradual yet still subconscious emergence of a radically self-reflexive critical thinking. In other terms, Geminian free explorative activity thought and language might be seen as the outer face of Virgoian 'inner' self knowledge. Correspondingly, where the ninth denotes the higher cultural, ethical and religious expressions of the group mind, the twelfth principle denotes the big geosocial movements and the breaking up of earlier eleventh principle forms into a larger mix of different and often waring societies providing the matrix for the emergence of rational/abstract and mental-egoic civilization. In other terms, Sagittarian abstract ideas/paradigms engage Piscean modes of religious/social transcendence.

At Level I the second quadrant is largely unconscious, merely potential. The psychic life of the individual is fully in the arms of the collective psyche; second quadrant psychic life is essentially reductive to the third quadrant at level I. Correspondingly, quadrant four signifies the visible forms, the personal interchanges of third quadrant shared meanings, values, and group mind experience. Viewed in this way, it is what we would see of a ‘primitive’ society if we were outside observers. But there is no large collective abstract institutionality here, consequently, the observable at this stage is largely reducible to the concrete organismic first quadrant. At this same level, quadrant two signifies deeper lying feelings of belonging implicit in the individual organism yet having no depth or independence, shaped and contained within the structures of the group mind . In Level I, insofar as the 'individual' asserts himself independent of the group, such independence comes from the sensory/objective first quadrant level.

In stage-level II a conscious subject (Q2) 'looks out upon a world' (Q4) which it experiences as an abstract object—a nation, a city, an institution—and upon the world/body continuum seen as physically concrete (Q1). Where through stage-level I consciousness is growing through the body's immediate relation to the environment and other bodies and through the group mind or collective psyche, in stage-level II consciousness continues to evolve, but now the locus shifts from immediate organismic experience plus collective psyche to individual psychic/interiority (Q2) and collective abstract objectivity (Q4).

In looking at the mandala in this most abstract fashion we must keep in mind that the signs and houses, the manifest forms of the archetypal logic, are not to be viewed in this way. While the signs Aries to Virgo symbolize individual functions and the signs Libra to Pisces symbolize social functions, persons exemplary of any of these signs experience and act in both individual and social modes. And similarly, all the signs, whether described above as actional or experiential, are to be understood in both subjective-experiential and objective behavioural ways. For example, in terms of fundamental structural holonic logic we might say, as above, that Cancerian interiority is Janus-faced with Arian intentional action (i.e. heads and tails of the holonic coin), but in terms of an individual psyche (or socio-cultural constellation) in part constituted by these signs, the Arian part of the person is not simply the exterior of the Cancerian part and vice versa. A Cancerian person does not act in an Arian fashion but in a Cancerian way. These are distinctly different energies manifesting as different through their square-related traits and drives, the one (Cancer) seeking safety, home and nurturance the other (Aries) challenges, change, independence and excitement.

The multivalence of the astrological archetype allows us to interpret the mandala in different senses. While the first quadrant maps the development of the agentic and body-based individual, it also symbolizes the complex relation of the subject/object epistemology—holon A standing in subject/object relation to holon B, thus disclosing the natural world as object (i.e. lots of particular objects). While the third quadrant maps the early developments of culture and the collective mind, it also symbolizes the relation of holon A in subject/subject mode with holon B etc. where interiority first shows up. Interiority does not first show up as individual interiority, the latter referring to the second quadrant. The epistemology which sustains Eastern hemispheric consciousness is the subject/object epistemology. The epistemology which sustains the Western hemisphere is the subject/subject epistemology. But as said, until the advent of feminist consciousness, the subject/object epistemology steadily gains dominance over the subject/subject mode, with quadrant three largely unconscious and quadrant two trying to connect with the other (Q3) from the subject/object standpoint which is doomed to failure.

But more precisely (and picking up from my analysis in chapter 20), the distinction between the bodily, sensory outward-directed consciousness of our first quadrant and the private interior consciousness of our second quadrant corresponds, not to Wilber's Right and Left (upper individual quadrants) but to my revisioned experiential manifold— RIGHT/LEFT. This RIGHT/LEFT describes the differentiated field of perception for any person (organism, holon). The outer object world is how this RIGHT/LEFT of person A shows up as a real object in person B's field of perception. Neither Wilber's Right/Left distinction nor the East/West quadrants of the astrological mandala adequately map the relation of thought and correlative brain state—the mind/body relation. This is consistent with my argument (in chapter 20) that the consciousness/matter relation cannot be modelled laterally and holonically.


1. Words from "The Waste Land" by T.S.Eliot. In T.S. Eliot. Selected Poems. London, Faber & Faber.
2.See Tarnas’s "Two Suitors" in Cosmos and Psyche.
3.In terms of the Graves/Beck spiral dynamics terminology, at blue and orange. See Wilber 2006.

Continue to Chapter 22