Carl Jung and Astrology in Psychoanalysis

February 8, 2018

Carl Jung was the person responsible for bringing astrology into psychoanalysis. This Swiss psychoanalyst, disciple of Freud, dealt with subjects that many considered to be closer to magic than science.

Even so, his hypotheses are profound and interesting. They even managed to turn into a whole school of thought that’s still around today.

For Jung, astrology is the summation of all ancient knowledge of psychology. Intuitively, the twelve signs of the zodiac worked as a compendium of psychic realities. They configure what Jung called “archetypes”, which are psychological patterns or models that inhabit the collective unconscious.

Carl Jung was sure that within each human being exists an innate disposition to be what they really are. And we don’t acquire it. Rather, we are born with it.

This is where we can see the influence of astrology on Jungian psychoanalysis. Astrologers are sure that there is an inclination to live a certain way from birth.

“Astrology, like the collective unconscious with which psychology is concerned, consists of symbolic configurations: The “planets” are the gods, symbols of the powers of the unconscious.”

-Carl G. Jung-

Synchronicity, or astrology, in Jung’s psychoanalysis

Jung developed the concept of “synchronicity” in his theory. It is this hypothesis that brings astrology into psychoanalysis.

Synchronicity refers to events that generate a coincidence. They happen at the same time, but are apparently disconnected. Like when you’re thinking about something unusual, like a bat, and soon after you see one in the window.

Carl Jung and synchronicity

For Jung, these coincidences obey certain invisible threads that connect everything. This is in agreement with astrological principles.

According to this knowledge, invisible forces exist that emanate from the universe. These forces are constantly intermixing and give rise to the events that happen in a person’s life.

In this way, the influence of astrology on Jungian psychoanalysis is clear. An unknown universal order manifests in a specific situation.

The movements of the universe lead to the concrete events in a person’s life. This may seem somewhat distanced from science, but quantum physics has also dealt with similar hypotheses.

Jung calls astrology the “intuitive method”. He declared on multiple occasions that he verified that certain psychological states or specific events correlated with planetary movement. “Particularly when Saturn and Uranus were affected”, he declared in 1954 during an interview.

Astrologers and Jung

Astrologers, for their part, agree with many of Jung’s points. They insist on the existence of invisible forces that give a particular sense to all that happens.

“The force that moves the sun and the stars is the same force that moves the human soul,” said the famous Spanish astrologer Lluís Gisbert.

Astrology and psychoanalysis

So, just as the influence of astrology is visible in psychoanalysis, the reverse also applies. Many astrologers turn to Jung’s ideas to develop their interpretations. 

One very particular case is that of Richard Tarnas. This academic is unique: he is a philosopher at Harvard but also a psychologist and astrologer.

He explains that he arrived at astrology after working with the teachings of Jung. His initial approach to it was above all empirical.

He was surprised to find that the star charts of Galileo, Einstein and Darwin were very similar. Also, that the same planetary configuration was repeated during a Beethoven concert and Jimi Hendrix’s most incredible performance.

One phrase summarizes his position: “Your psyche is the breathing of the cosmos”.

An uncomfortable relationship

Almost all psychoanalysts question the influence of astrology on psychoanalysis. They see it as just a reduction of imaginary myths and legends that lack validity.

In fact, classical psychoanalysis is based on the idea that humans are in control of their destiny. That coincidences don’t exist.

Carl Jung and astrology

From the other side, some question the extreme Cartesian rationality that has been imposed on knowledge. They say that there is not one but many ways of reaching truths. And that the rational, scientific truth is only one of them.

Despite all this, the use of astrology in psychoanalysis is still around. At least in the Jungian field of thought. Both the followers of this approach, and astrologers, feel ever closer to quantum physics. 

They assure that eventually a new kind of wisdom that challenges rational laws will open up. Let’s see if it happens…