By Edward Snow
A study that examined consciousness development in professional astrologers has kicked a few holes in the notion that astrologers are a self-centered, superstitious lot with limited or faulty critical thinking skills.
“Critics of astrology often associate astrology and its practitioners with an unsophisticated, pre-modern worldview. But this is not what we found,” consciousness researcher and consulting astrologer Armand Diaz, PhD, reports.
“In recent decades, models of consciousness development have become increasingly comprehensive and detailed and have been well supported with research. These models generally present the evolution of consciousness through a series of discreet, sequential stages that reflect both individual and collective development,” he said.
In his independent research survey, Diaz focused on the general beliefs and values of 27 professional astrologers residing on three continents. Assessed was their level of agreement with seven sequential worldviews identified by developmental psychologist Jenny Wade.
Diaz says consciousness development takes place within individuals but also within societies and in historical epochs. In Wade’s hierarchically-arranged system, each level of consciousness represents a more complex and inclusive perspective than the levels preceding it.
As a group, the astrologers had stronger identification with middle and upper ranges of consciousness and comparatively weak identification with the lower levels, Diaz said.
In Wade’s system, naïve consciousness is associated with magical thinking, a high degree of preservation of sameness in both beliefs and activities, and an incomplete differentiation of the ego from one’s clan or group. At the next level, egocentric consciousness, the newly formed independent ego recognizes its vulnerability and develops a “look-out-for-number-one mindset.”
Conformist consciousness develops as the need to cooperate becomes apparent and belief in a universal way of believing and doing things develops. Achievement consciousness is associated with modern thinking and an unfailing belief in progress and personal independence.
At the next levels, affiliative (humanistic) consciousness reflects a desire to be inclusive and compassionate in addition to being successful. Integral (authentic) consciousness recognizes the value of the development process and essentially corresponds with the concept of self-actualization first described by psychologist Abraham Maslow.
Finally, transcendent consciousness focuses on overcoming the limitations of ego and reuniting with the fundamental source of consciousness.
Diaz says survey participants anonymously responded to 35 randomly presented statements – five each for the seven consciousness levels. On a seven point scale, participants were asked to grade how strongly they either agreed or disagreed with each statement.
“Statements identified with higher levels of consciousness should not appeal to those whose psychic center of gravity is at lower levels, and vice versa. If astrologers were truly acting from a primitive, superstitious, naïve or egocentric consciousness we would expect a higher level of identification with statements created to appeal to those at lower consciousness levels.
“For example, statements like it’s generally unsafe to change the way we do things. Or, I’m on my own in competition with others around me,” Diaz said.
As a group, astrologers participating in the survey strongly identified with the three highest levels of consciousness explored. Among other areas of agreement they strongly identified with the idea that “while people may hold different views and ideas, at a deep level all are fundamentally equal,” he added.
Diaz is the author of Integral Astrology, Understanding the Ancient Discipline in the Contemporary World, and other books. More information is available on his website, http://www.integralastrology.net.