Dianne Seaman, B.S., C.P.L.T.
Dianne Seaman explores possible relationships between astrology, the new physics of quanta and space-time, past-life phenomena, and transpersonal experiences. As she notes in her article, her explorations raise more questions than can be answered, but her findings are provocative and she links these areas together thoughtfully.
Astrology, quantum physics and past-life phenomena are all complex subjects in and of themselves. Here I am attempting to show links among all three and how a more thorough understanding of each can be gained from exploring the other two – an even more complex undertaking. I am coming to realize that this is a lifelong project, and as I delve deeper into these matters, more questions are raised than answered.
Astrology is a symbolic language of energy and cyclical time. The past-life phenomenon addresses a subjective experience of simultaneous (non-linear) time. According to Dr. Avshalom Elitzer, a physics professor at Tel Aviv University, time has always been the big quandary for classical physicists (Elitzer, 1996). Elitzer thinks there is a missing piece somewhere, and we need to turn to intuition and our subjective experiences to provide more information about this phenomenon of time. He echoes Einstein, who said, “Even space and time are forms of intuition.” What seems needed is not more traditional scientific inquiry, but a new level from which to view this conundrum of time.
Elitzer makes the important observation that although we assume other spaces exist simultaneously to the one we are in (for example, if we are in New York we do not doubt that Paris also co-exists at that moment), the same assumption is not applied to time (few people in 1997 would agree that 1804 simultaneously exists).
People who have experienced past-life phenomena, whether spontaneously or from guided regressions, offer much information on the subjective experience of time. My own personal experience leads me to write, “There are worlds within my mind which cross the boundaries of time and personality.” My comment echoes Carl Jung’s view. He felt that there is a part of the psyche not subject to the laws of space and time. In these states of past-life recall, time is often perceived as non-linear or simultaneous. In this view, 1997 and 1804, or any two years, can be experienced as co-existing, at least in the person’s subconscious mind, or perhaps at some other level/”field” we have not yet named or identified.
A question arises: How is this perception as experienced in past-life phenomena connected to the concept of the “implicate order”? Physicist David Bohm uses this term to denote a level beneath the surface reality of separate things and events. In the implicate, or frequency, realm all is undivided wholeness. Bohm calls this underlying pattern the implicate or enfolded order (Wilber, 1982).
I once attempted to describe what felt like a spontaneous “past-life bleed through” in these terms: “Time was bending, folding M. and me together like two sleeves of a blouse neatly placed in a drawer.” I find it interesting that Christopher Bache, in inquiring as to the present status of his former lives, asks “…have they in some way been folded into me…?” (Bache, 1991). Both of us chose the term folded, in a meaning that seems linked to Bohm’s terms enfolded realm or frequency domain. Therefore does a “past-life personality” exist somewhere as a type of frequency?
The Relationship Among the Three Fields
I’d like to explore this hypothetical assumption that this “frequency image” approximates the past-life phenomenon. If so, astrology provides some interesting insights. An astrology chart symbolizes a living wave or frequency pattern that makes up each individual. Each person is like a unique system of energy within the ocean of space-time, another phrase for the implicate order/frequency domain. An astrology chart shows the interweaving of the body, mind and soul levels across time and across lifetimes. The chart can also be seen as a template for the quantum (also called etheric) body, which interpenetrates our physical life and form. At a conference of The Association of Past Life Research and Therapies (APRT, Oct. 1996), Winifred Lucas stated that past-life experiences are “stored” in the causal body and filter down to the quantum/etheric level. In past-life therapy the quantum body is altered, which then manifests in the physical life of the individual.
The energy of the mental/causal body (the level above the etheric) forms a pattern for that life, the design being at least partially derived from other life experiences. Thus the design of a life is akin to an individual’s unique relationship with the whole implicate order. Astrology is a tool for “reading” this pattern. Therefore the chart can be compared to an individual’s unique coding for experiencing aspects of the frequency domain, such as past-life phenomena, as well as the timing of such experiences.
Accessing past-life material is really a different way of perceiving than occurs in “ordinary” waking consciousness. People who have these experiences could be said to shift into another perceptual frequency. The neurophysiologist Karl Pribram, who coined the phrase “holographic brain,” considers people having transcendental experiences as catching a glimpse of the frequency domain. He says, “Mystical experiences (altered states of consciousness – my addition) make sense when one can provide the mathematical formulas that take one back and forth between the ordinary world, or ‘image-object’ domain, and the frequency domain” (Talbot, 1991). While this statement could be misinterpreted as alluding to a somewhat mechanistic universe, which is not what I am suggesting (nor, in my opinion, is Pribram), I do find his comment to be linked to astrology, as well as the past-life phenomenon.
Astrology, while a symbolic language best interpreted by using intuition, is also mathematically based. Therefore I propose that astrology provides that mathematical formula Pribram is seeking that can assist us in making sense of these perceptual shifts. Planetary movements (called transits in astrology) can be seen as a moving geometry of dynamics in the psyche. Stanislav Grof and Richard Tarnas began applying transit analysis to holotropic breathwork sessions (a type of induced altered state that is sometimes used to access past life and other mystical experience) to discover if there were correlations between planetary transits and people’s experiences. “Tendencies and the specific archetypal character of each session were well described by kinds of major planetary transits going on (Tarnas, 1996).”
While Grof and Tarnas were predominately studying induced altered states, I am suggesting this moving geometry of astrology is also in effect during spontaneous transformational experiences and those observed in past-life regression work. As mentioned earlier, past-life experiences are a type of altered state. For years in my past-life therapy work, I’ve used the image that our mind is like a radio dial, which fits the frequency model. I suggest to clients that we are going to turn their “dial” from the “present life station” (ordinary waking reality) to the “station” that can access past-life contents (part of the frequency domain).
While the term “moving geometry” is a good verbal description, images are often more useful than words. In addition to the radio dial, the following image addresses this phenomenon of astrology’s relationship to shifts in consciousness. Years ago while looking up at the sky one night, this image came to me quite spontaneously. I saw the spatial configuration (the geometry) of the planets in the sky and sensed that, like a combination that opens a lock, both outer events and/or internal shifts in consciousness are more likely to occur (to open) when the planets are aligned in the “right combination.”
Some sort of intrinsic design seems to guide people’s individual development, including transcendent experiences and “karmic overlays.” Astrology clearly shows this. (It is important to note here that a chart shows what is potential, what is a probability, not what is rigidly inevitable. This shows another link astrology shares with quantum physics. In the quantum model the outcome is also likely or probable, not rigidly fixed.) Some metaphysical philosophies theorize that a soul “participates” on some level in choosing the script for a life, determined by “past” behavior patterns (samskaras), soul purpose, lessons etc. Their “script,” or coding, would be mapped out by the astrological energies at their time of birth. Therefore the time and place in which a person is born and the subsequent energies that compose that life would be no accident.
One aspect of the “script” may be both the type and timing of these transcendent perceptions. I will only focus on the past-life experience here. There seem to be some clear astrological indicators of which people are more predisposed to access past-life levels: that is, who has a higher probability of this happening, and when – the periods in their lives that are “ripe times” for such perceptions.
For the sake of brevity, and recognizing that many readers are not astrologers well versed in the language, please keep in mind that this is a simplification of a very complex subject. I have observed the following indicators in clients’ charts over the past thirteen years. People who seem predisposed to past-life experience have an emphasis on the sign Scorpio and/or planets in the eighth house and/or a strongly placed Pluto. Pluto and its corresponding sign and house represent intense karmic clearing. Therefore people with this signature may have a life emphasis on this task. Combinations of the Moon (emotions) and Pluto are often strong since the emotional makeup of these people seems to have deep roots in past lives.
Retrograde planets are planets that seem to be going backward at the time of the person’s birth. This is an astronomical illusion caused by the relationship between the planet and the earth as they both revolve about the Sun, but such planets in a person’s chart are extremely important and have a significant psychological influence on personality. In the astrological chart, when they are in the person’s eighth or twelfth house (both representing dimensions of the deep unconscious) they seem to stimulate a returning to “unfinished business” originating in the hidden depths of the personal unconscious (Tierney, 1980). The theme the retrograde planet symbolizes is brought forward into the present life and can initially create a blockage in that area.
An example from my client files involves a retrograde Saturn in the eighth house in the natal chart. Some themes Saturn represents are public recognition, achievement and success. My client was experiencing enormous frustration in these areas, in spite of intelligence, talent and drive. In a regression she recalled a life where she had received enormous public recognition which changed suddenly to public shame at death. The thought at death was “I’ll never again put myself in a public position and risk humiliation.” And so in this life she was keeping herself obscure. After clearing this, my client was able to take some creative ideas much more public and experienced the fulfillment which had been blocked before.
The timing and rhythm of these past-life clearings/experiences can also be shown astrologically. The simplified version is that transits to a person’s natal Pluto or transits of Pluto making a significant contact to a person’s natal chart are often strong at these times. Transits are the location of a planet on any given day. For example, transiting Pluto on June 2, 1997 was at four degrees Sagittarius. Someone with a natal moon at four degrees Sagittarius could be more likely to experience emotions from past lives erupting from some deep, previously unconscious level during the time period when Pluto is close to that position.
Benefits for the Therapy Process
This concept offers benefits for past-life therapists as well as their clients. It helps to explain why some people have profound shifts and pattern breakthroughs as a result of past-life work, while others have none. It can also add the perspective that there are “ripe times” in someone’s life for patterns to change. Perhaps a person is not unwilling to change, but it just isn’t time in their “life script” for that shift to occur. Transits can be seen as a type of wave/frequency pattern interfacing with a person’s personality frequency pattern. Transits appear to reflect times when the potential for changing our existing wave patterns (altering the causal body level and the quantum/etheric level) are the greatest.
The energy field of our personality seems to become more fluid during these “ripe times,” like soft clay able to be remolded. Therefore aligning with the soul plan for our lives appears to be both effective and efficient. Perhaps these changes can occur at other times with much more effort, or maybe there are “windows of opportunity” that open for a time, then close until the next transit cycle.
Those are some of the questions raised by such theories. Another question this type of discussion generates is one concerning fate vs. free will. For example, can someone will a past-life pattern to change by conscious ego choice alone or is this timing fated/preordained in some way? The closest I’ve come to answering that one involves a paradoxical insight by Patricia Sun. “We are both one hundred percent in control and one hundred percent not in control.”
There is one more indicator related to the past-life phenomenon. This one seems present in people who easily access these perceptual levels spontaneously in ordinary waking consciousness. Chiron, a major asteroid discovered in 1977 that has been much studied since, seems to represent the ability to experience multi-leveled awareness of both present and other time going on simultaneously/holographically. Chiron is about multi-dimensional perception. Two people I am aware of who have experienced long term and frequent spontaneous access to past-life levels both have a prominent Chiron. Chiron’s discovery in 1977 announces that an evolutionary leap is now more possible for humanity. Collectively, new perceptual pathways are being opened more than ever before. One of these pathways is past-life recall.
Past-life therapists are noticing that it is now easier for people to access these types of memories than it was decades ago. Later in this article I discuss Sheldrake’s morphogenetic fields (M-fields); it could be that there is some type of M-field effect operating so that the more people there are who access past lives, the easier it seems to get for everyone. In addition and related to the M-field theory is the idea that the perceptual pathways needed for such recall are now more firmly in place on a collective level. Perhaps the pathway is “grooved in deeper” by the growth of larger numbers of people experiencing this phenomenon.
The Relationship Between “Past” and “Present”
Another related topic is the interplay between a “past-life personality” and the present life. In Lifecycles, Bache (1991) speculates that past lives aren’t necessarily merely static memories imbedded in the present life’s unconscious, but are more like dynamic living realities that “dialogue” with the present life for the purpose of growth and healing. I find it to be a sort of “teammates across time” phenomenon!
I have had the opportunity to watch these “dialogues” mathematically through astrology. For one client, charts of both the past life, which had occurred in the early twentieth century, and the present life were available. Much of the interaction occurred spontaneously, not through more structured time schedules such as regression sessions.
Therefore the interplay between lifetimes was allowed to occur in an organic inner rhythm, without control or interference from external schedules or deliberate regressions. Whenever the “dialoguing” occurred, whether through dreams, synchronicities, emotions, clear intuitive knowing, or multidimensional overlays of the two personalities’ consciousness, it was shown astrologically in the interplay between the two charts.
Again, a metaphor may be helpful to illustrate this dynamic interconnection of the so-called past and present life personalities. If the present life is seen as a photographic slide illuminated on a screen, then the past life could be seen as a second slide “selected” from the “slide tray of the soul” and superimposed on the present life. Both would occasionally be on the screen simultaneously, creating a multiple image. Could astrology indicators be like the hand on the “clicker” of the slide projector, determining when this overlay occurs?
In traditional astrology, relationships between two personalities is energetically illustrated by a composite chart. The composite chart reveals the “unconscious, underlying field of energy” formed by any two personalities. Usually used for insight into the relationship of two living people, it became quite useful to explore the spontaneous past-life phenomena of the client above. Major triggers to the composite chart, too technical for discussion here, were always present during the “dialogues” between the two lives. Can astrology reveal when lines of communication, emerging out of the frequency domain, are most open across time? In addition astrology seemed to show when issues from this particular past life were most easily cleared/resolved by the present personality.
One other observation about this client’s two charts is of interest. Without getting too technical, three pairs of planets are in a “square” aspect (90 degrees) in the past-life chart; the same three pairs are found in an “opposition” aspect (180 degrees) in the present life chart. Planetary combinations like squares and oppositions represent specific psychological issues. In this case the three pairs are Mars/Sun, Venus/Neptune and Uranus/Ascendant. Square patterns are seen psychologically as indicating little perspective or clarity involving the dynamics of the planetary pairs. People often experience these areas as stressful, as the related issues tend to be blocked and resistant to integration. With the opposition, resolution is more possible. Greater insight is now available. Oppositions represent the climax of a cycle. Does this movement from squares in one life to oppositions in another, involving the identical three pairs of planets and their identical issues, show some type of evolutionary progression on a soul level? What remains unresolved in one life is now more solvable in another life and this potential resolution is “built in” to a person’s psychological structure – a structure made visible by astrology?
This also brings up another fascinating question. Do we tend to access lifetimes with similar themes, as shown by this example? I’ve always sensed that we have “active and inactive files of past lives” in our psyches. The past lives most related to our present life issues, abilities, tasks and foibles are in the “active drawer.” A similar analogy is given by David Cliness. In his metaphor the process is like a deck of playing cards and each life we are “dealt” a smaller hand than the fifty two cards possible (Bache, 1991). In other words, we are “dealt” the lifetimes with relevance to our present one. To link this back to quantum physics, do we access only those past lives with a similar resonance, as shown by astrological wave patterns?
Also related to this question of selective accessing of particular past lives most similar and/or relevant to our current one is Chet Snow’s expansion of Sheldrake’s morphogenetic field (M-field) theory to include past-life phenomena. Sheldrake offers a nonmaterial explanation of heredity, memory and evolution. Sheldrake believes that evolution occurs by repeating patterns, which are transmitted across space and time via intangible, omnipresent M-fields. These fields act like physical and behavioral blueprints and subtly influence development at all levels of existence through “morphic resonance,” or the attraction of like to like. Astrology fits in well with this theory of M-fields, as it has often been called the blueprint of the soul. While Sheldrake applies this theory to species evolution, Snow extends this concept to an individual’s evolution through reincarnation:
Sheldrake’s concept of morphic resonance may explain how distinct emotional and behavior patterns are transferred from lifetime to lifetime as it is logical to assume that his like-to-like attraction principle would be strongest with one’s own past lives. Could our souls be vibrating energy wave forms, creating M-fields that receive information from our senses while physically alive, storing and filtering it…then projecting that information back into Space-Time in another human body? (Snow, 1989).
This like-to-like attraction theory seems to support my observations on the similar themes found between the two charts of the client above.
While focusing on the past-life theme, symbolized by Pluto, I’d like to quickly mention the other two transpersonal planets, which are closely linked to quantum physics and the concept of the implicate order/frequency domain. Uranus deals with electrical resonance with the cosmos, Kundalini experiences, paradigm shifts (radical new ways of seeing), “aha” insights, and transformational breakthroughs. Neptune represents mystical letting go, intuition, the divine within. Pluto, Uranus, and Neptune reveal to us that we are not separate from our divinity. The energies these planets represent are not controllable by our egos, our wills.
In contrast, classical physics is much more comfortable in seeing through the lens of Saturn. Saturn is the energy of order and control, and prefers a mechanistic, predictable world. Which “reality” someone experiences has more to do with their perceptual lens than any absolute truth. Before the discovery of Chiron, which is the energetic bridge between Saturn and the transpersonal planets, the distance between these two perceptual realities of classical vs. quantum physics seemed too vast to cross. But that is changing.
In conclusion, I believe astrology has much to offer the emerging paradigm that the world exists as a type of nonlinear evolving process in space-time rather than a big predictable machine. Astrology operates in the nonmaterial realms described by Bohm’s theory of the implicate order, Pribram’s concept of the “holographic brain,” and Sheldrake’s M-fields. All these theories not only complement each other but correspond with the ancient concepts of chi and prana. The common denominator is that there exists a subtle immaterial substance that connects all things and is the underlying source of what is experienced in the material world. Astrology can be seen as a type of valve through which the invisible realms flow into the physical: to use Bohm’s terms, a valve between the implicate and explicate orders.
Astrology, like the above theories, helps us to understand our relationship to the rest of the universe. Astrology shows that it is time to rebuild lost connections between modern man and the cosmos. This bridge can return meaning to our lives. If a person interfaces with the cosmos, a universe saturated with archetypal meaning, that individual must be seen as cosmically significant. Therefore modern psychological astrology has an inherent healing power that derives from its capacity to attune people to the rhythms and cycles of the cosmos, which is not separate from their own true nature.
Bache, C. Lifecycles. New York: Paragon House, 1991.
Elitzer, A. Center for Frontier Science, Temple University, lecture, 1996, April.
Snow, C. and Wambach, H. Mass Dreams of the Future. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1989.
Talbot, M. The Holographic Universe. New York: Harper Collins, 1991.
Tarnas, R. Cosmos and Psyche: Astrology as a Sacred Technology. International Transpersonal Association Conference, Manous, Brazil, lecture, 1996.
Tierney, B. Perceptions in Astrology. Lynchburg, VA: Mercury Hour, 1980.
Wilber, K. [ed.] The Holographic Paradigm. Boulder, CO: New Science Library, 1982.