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Revised May 2, 2015

The Astrological Birth Chart - the Sacred Sunrise

Western Tropical Astrologers (myself included) are all too often found guilty of flattening out the vibrant, living symbols contained in astrology... thinking that the numinous active symbols of the psyche can be safely channeled into nice, neat, and practical categories... that then provide simplistic 1-2-3 definitions, rules, and answers that we can all "wrap our minds around."

Sometimes it's vitally important to step back from the sheer madness of Western World foolishness and ego-centric thinking that we can maintain control and be masters of our universe...

So... in a brief moment of respite from that sort of delusional Western World left-brained thinking (and respite from using the all too foreign language of "astrologer-speak"), in exploring the archetypal nature and experience of the astrological birth chart, let's back up and take in a good old fashioned dose of awe and imagination, courtesy of my spiritual mentor, Dr Carl G Jung...

The Glorious Sunrise
It's all way too easy for me to lose sight of the sheer wonder and awe of an early morning sunrise. I of all people should be doubly ashamed... because I grew up in an area of New Mexico that Depth Psychologist, Dr Carl G Jung, once monikered as the "land of the endless horizon."

You see... in early 1925, the Swiss psychiatrist, Carl G Jung, MD spent the better part of a month in the United States of America traveling throughout the vast Southwestern states of Arizona and New Mexico.

Starting out at the awe inspiring Grand Canyon of Arizona, Jung then traveled through several of the Native American Indian reservations of Northwestern Arizona and the Canyon de Chelly.

In commenting on Canyon de Chelly Jung shared that apart from the Valley of Nile (in Egypt) this was the only place he knew of that fully embodied "the very essence of antiquity." Jung: A Biography – Deirdre Bair (Mythologist Joseph Campbell would later describe Canyon de Chelly as the most sacred place on earth.)

Jung then traveled to and visited the Zuni pueblo outside of Gallup, New Mexico. Continuing on... Jung then spent two weeks experiencing the still very primitive Santa Fe/Taos area of New Mexico.

To get a small feel for what Jung was experiencing in while traveling through the vast American Southwest:
  • Switzerland land mass: 15,940 miles
  • Arizona land mass: 113,998 miles
  • New Mexico land mass: 121,697 miles

While visiting the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico, Dr Jung met with Mountain Lake (Antonio Mirabal). Mountain Lake was a Hopi born Native American Indian that at this time was a leader within the Taos Pueblo. Mountain Lake, being careful not to give away any closely held secrets, did however share with Jung about their daily prayers; and that they at the Taos Pueblo (through their daily prayers) were responsible for the sun continuing to rise each and every day.

The Sacred Sunrise in Kenya
Excerpts from: Memories, Dreams, and Reflections; Carl G Jung about his being on Mt Elgon when visiting with the Elgonyi tribe of Kenya, Africa in late 1925

"the sunrise in these latitudes was a phenomenon that overwhelmed me anew every day… I formed the habit of taking a camp stool and sitting under an umbrella acacia just before dawn…

At first, the contrast between light and darkness would be extremely sharp. Then objects would assume contour and emerge into the light which seemed to fill the valley with a compact brightness. The horizon above became radiant white. Gradually the swelling light seemed to penetrate into the very structure of objects, which became illuminated from within until at last they shone translucently, like bits of colored glass. Everything turned to flaming crystal. The cry of the bell bird rang around the horizon. At such moments I felt as if I were inside a temple."

As a typical "modern" adult urban city dweller, it's been incredibly easy to not fully grasp just why the sunrise was considered such a sacred moment and experience for ancient peoples...

Jung [in Kenya] continuing on about sunrise:

"It was the most sacred hour of the day. I drank in this glory with insatiable delight or rather in a timeless ecstasy…

For untold ages men have worshipped the great god who redeems the world by rising out of the darkness as a radiant light in the heavens…

That is why the sun’s birth in the morning strikes the [Kenyan] native as so overwhelmingly meaningful. The moment in which light comes is God. That moment brings redemption, release. To say that the sun is God is to blur and forget the archetypal experience of the moment…"

Dawn Finally Breaks
Wow! Did you catch that? "The moment in which light comes is God." Had it ever "dawned" on you that few ancient peoples ever worshipped the sun as being god, per se? For many ancient cultures - while the sun itself was considered divine - it was first and foremost the moment of the sun rising in the East (releasing us from the darkness of the night) that was set apart as being most sacred.
“Near my observation point was a high cliff inhabited by baboons. Every morning they sat quietly, almost motionless, on the ridge of the cliff facing the sun, whereas throughout the rest of the day they ranged noisily through the forest, screeching and chattering. Like me, they seem to be waiting for the sunrise. They remind me of the great baboons of the temple of Abu Simbel of Egypt, which perform the gesture of adoration. They tell the same story: for untold ages men have worshipped the great god who redeems the world by rising out of the darkness as a radiant light in the heavens.”
Jung was referring here to the ancient Egyptian temple, Abu Simbel, that was dedicated (circa 13th century BC) to Ramesses II, and a row of carved baboons atop the temple that symbolically greeted the morning sun each day.

The Astrological Birth Chart
Your birth chart is a sacred symbol of the exact dawning of your life on planet Earth; and, in particular, the Zodiac sign in which your Ascendant (see link below) is placed, uniquely represents the part of the Sky that came to meet and greet you at the exact sacred moment of your dawning.

In ancient Greek astrology, the "horoskopos" or the "birth chart" literally meant "look to the hour [of birth]." So the Ascendant, along with the rest of our birth chart, is a sacred and life giving symbol of the unique moment in time and space when we were born.

Our birth charts are special "sky maps" that reflect (mirror back) the quality of the exact moment when we emerged from the darkness of the womb and then drew our first breath. And with that first breath, we each began our own incredible and unique hero's journey through life on planet Earth...

The ancient Greek philosopher Plato wrote that we each choose both the time and place of our birth - and that we therefore choose the lessons we will be undergoing...

And according to the even more ancient Greek thinker Heraclitus (one of Plato's influences):

"The soul is its own source of unfolding."
Astrology's map of the soul is nothing more and nothing less than a mirror that can symbolically reflect the natural unfolding of our soul and character over the course of a lifetime. And it takes an entire lifetime to fully live out and bring meaning to all the symbols and potentials contained in our birth charts.

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Find out more about the Ascendant in the article "Hey Baby, What's Your Sign."
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