Michael R. Meyer

reproduced with permission of the author from his book Handbook for the Humanistic Astrologer


The event-oriented approach to astrology is, generally speaking, astrology in its traditional form.  Such an approach sees man and his total environment as being constantly subjected to overwhelming external forces.  Man is essentially helpless under such conditions and simply at their mercy.  It sees the Sun, Moon, and planets as great beings that exert their influence and will upon men, causing events to happen.  This approach considers the birth chart of a person as something that must be overcome if one is to be a free, self-determining individual.  It divides astrological factors into opposite categories: good-bad, fortunate-unfortunate, and benefic-malefic.  Situations and people are seen as separate, unrelated parts.  When the event-oriented astrologer approaches his work, he assumes little responsibility for the results his statements may have upon the psychological condition of his clients, concerning himself with the material success of his clients and the prediction of events, rather than the personal integration and self-actualization of those who seek his services.

A person seeking the advice of such an astrologer may be informed to "watch out for accidents; Mars is crossing your Saturn."  Naturally, the person is likely to be terrified.  And, of course, the astrologer's warnings often become self-fulfilling prophecies.  If, and when, they do actually materialize, the astrologer's success is assured:  the event-oriented astrologer's greatest asset is his fortunetelling ability.


The humanistic, person-centered approach to astrology, as its name implies, is an astrological parallel to the "third force" of psychology promoted by Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and others.  This new approach to astrological knowledge and practice has been introduced by Dane Rudhyar in Person-Centered Astrology, a collection of six essays first published during 1969-71.  The formulation of the humanistic, person-centered approach to astrology represents the culmination of over forty years of extensive research, reinterpretation, and restatement of the ideas and concepts of astrology on the part of Rudhyar, and the beginning of a new era in the history of the ancient study of astrology.

The humanistic approach to astrology sees the person as an independent organic whole consisting of an intricate pattern of interrelated and interacting forces.  Rudhyar writes in Person-Centered Astrology that this pattern, formulated at the first moment of independent existence, establishes the individual's life-purpose and its basic relation to all other wholes in the universe.  This organic whole -- the individual person -- is essentially no different from the infinitely greater and vaster organized whole, which we call the universe -- the individual is this universal whole, focused at a particular point in space and in terms of the particular need of the exact moment of its emergence into independent existence."

From the humanistic approach, the birth-chart is not something the person has to overcome and is not judged in terms of good or bad.  The humanistic, person-centered astrologer sees the birth-chart as a seed pattern, describing what the individual may grow to become, what he is potentially; though, of course the person may not actually fulfill this potential to its fullest.  In other words, the birth chart describes what should be and what experiences are needed to bring about the actualization of what is at the moment of birth only a set of potentials.

In practice, the humanistic astrologer studies (perceives) the birth chart first as a whole and then in terms of its individual factors.  Nothing in the birth chart is seen as good or evil, fortunate or unfortunate; humanistic astrology recognizes no evil planets or bad signs.  It considers all astrological factors as having a place in all things; everything is good when in its place in the eternal scheme of things and in relation to everything else.  From this approach, the birth chart is a set of instructions for the actualization of one's potential.

The individual who approaches astrology (and all forms of knowledge) in this manner is concerned with the whole view of the total process rather that with a partial view of an isolated life function.  Rudhyar states that this type of astrologer is primarily concerned "with the fullest possible actualization of the potentialities inherent in the birth chart, he considers no significant step ahead can be taken except through some kind of crisis.  [It is not the prediction of events that carries the primary importance;] for the basic purpose of studying a birth chart and discussing it with the person to whom it refers is to help this person to become more positively, more meaningfully, more creatively, more totally what he potentially is."