(The Sun entered the fixed star constellation of Pisces yesterday on March 12 and will remain in these stars until April 18. We shall write about Pisces in the coming weeks as well as the Easter season and the stars. However because of questions from readers, we have chosen the article below for the current ongoing studies article.)
Many people ask: What is the difference between astrosophy and astrology? This is a complex question which hopefully will be answered over time as one studies the work of Willi Sucher and as we proceed in our ongoing studies to seek to understand our modern relation to the starry world and our tasks in relation to this world. However, below is an edited version of an article Willi wrote in August, 1938, (complete article on website) just a year after fleeing Nazi Germany for England. It is interesting to see in it already the development of Willi’s fundamental perspective in astrosophy, which evolved over his lifetime, culminating in his profound research on the Christ event and the stars as the archetype for our future. (see Cosmic Christianity)
From Thoughts on the Future of Astrology by Willi Sucher, Aug. 1938
Having reached a certain conclusion in our descriptions of the new outlook in astrology, we may consider once again the fundamental question: What is the spiritual import of astrology for our own time, and how ought it to develop toward the future?
On the one hand is the legitimate striving for pure knowledge of the relations between people and the world of stars, while on the other hand there is the candid entry into realms of egoistic wish and selfish curiosity... Up to a certain point it is indeed the case that many striking things can be deduced from horoscopes of birth with regard to one's course of destiny. Yet as we look more closely, these things appear in a very different light as compared to the utilitarian point of view from which so many people start… What we are really seeking for today has not yet risen to full consciousness, so we fall back again and again and become overwhelmed by the old phantom. For, in effect, it is but a phantom that the horoscope, as commonly applied, reveals…
In former articles we have already evolved one point of view in striking contrast to the whole sphere of horoscopes of birth. It is the aspect of the horoscope of death. This, in itself, obliges us in seeking knowledge, to look in quite another direction than for the horoscopes of birth. For in the latter case, as a general rule, the human life concerned is still to come; we tend almost inevitably to the mood of prognosis, as of a destiny notyet unfolded. The horoscope of death on the other hand comes at the end of human life. There is no possibility of foretelling any immediate, tangible future… We must only be prepared to change the direction of our quest deeply and radically if we would truly appreciate this new form of astrology.
Quite apart from the fact that in the horoscope of death we have a summing-up of the destiny of a past earthly life, which is a looking backward in time, another most important point emerges:…it is the human being's activity which gives to the events among the stars their meaning and their import about the time of death. We have shown how the lives of some were recorded in the constellations of the planets and the Zodiac. If from the human being nothing of significance is written in the cosmos, then too the constellations of the stars, whatever they may outwardly appear as, will be without inner weight, empty of content like the one who bears them. If, on the other hand, by virtue of our life on Earth we have inscribed into the universe of stars (through the past Saturn transits in the horoscope of death as shown in former articles) good deeds of value for humanity, then and then only will a constellation be of real meaning, not only for us, but it may be for all humanity.
We must, however, bear in mind that this way of looking at things will deeply and radically change our aspect of our relation to the world of stars. By virtue of the horoscope of death we no longer have a relation to the world of stars which inspires the question: What is the meaning of such or such constellation for my own personal life? The question is now reversed. For if we earnestly let all that which is revealed in the horoscopes of death work upon us, we will be led to see that our own spiritual evolution—no matter of what kind it be—is of significance for the world-all. Our real relation to the starry world, revealed in the horoscope of death, is the expansion of our being to the being of the cosmos, the making manifest of our seemingly minute existence—as of a speck of dust within the universe, for so it seems to us on Earth—in its true cosmic magnitude and value.
In the horoscope of birth, or rather in the whole complex of horoscopes and constellations about the time of birth, we should then have to seek the opposite of something finished, namely a development in its inception, a germ, a seed of evolution. The true horoscope is something germinal, bearing within it all the potentialities of development which can, however, only be turned into Earth-reality under quite definite conditions.
Precisely herein lies the secret of the new relation between ourselves and the world of stars. Through the very fact of our descent into incarnation we are indeed connected with the world of stars, and yet we are no longer absolutely dependent on that world. On the contrary, in our age and in the future we are called upon to take the world of stars with us into our earthly deeds, into our earthly feeling and thinking. The transmutation which then takes place all through our earthly life, if we are a person of spiritual striving, thereby becomes a transmutation not only of ourselves but even of the world of stars! Thus can we understand it now. All that appears as the fruit of an earthly life in the horoscope of death was there already as a seed or germ in that of birth; it only had to go through the transmutations, through the testing fires of a life on Earth to reach maturity.
[Willi presents the example of Richard Wagner] We have, therefore, this picture: on one hand in the horoscope there is the plan of the earthly life that is now beginning. As we described it before, the prenatal horoscope is an image of the ether-body, forming and molding the physical in a quite individual way and working into the human being's destiny. Yet what it fashions is in reality no more than the forms—the hollow molds, as it were—waiting to be filled with another content. Thus the conjunction of Venus and Saturn in Richard Wagner's horoscope is but a mold; in itself it tells us little. What is important is what flowed into this mold in the subsequent life of Wagner's individuality. Another person would have made something altogether different of it. It is the human individuality who in reality makes the horoscope, not the horoscope the individuality! Therefore, the truest astrology is that which is able to confront the stars with strong and world-embracing individuality. Then it will no longer be a question of trying to decipher our own personal destiny as written in the stars; but in the strength of our thinking, feeling, and willing we will be trying to bear our individual share of the destiny and riddle of the stars themselves. Ideally speaking, we can imagine Wagner in that moment having some consciousness of the cosmic events before his birth. Aware of the immanent question which was contained in that conjunction of Venus and Saturn, he would still not have regarded it as in any way determining his fate. Out of such consciousness, we may imagine his sense of responsibility would have grown immeasurably more than it did, out of the range of personal motives and desires. He would have been at once aware of his responsibility to cosmic worlds.
It is only a short time ago in human evolution that it had no longer become important to know what a particular constellation signifies for earthly life. Indeed, we are now even more entering into conditions wherein these things will no longer signify at all for human life. We can no longer expect anything of them in the way we did in former times. We, on the contrary, will have to be the givers. We will give to the stars, and in this giving grow ourselves, up to the stature of the stars. A time is now approaching when it will be the task of a new astrology to evoke in humanity a strong spirituality, a spirituality which will alone be able to fill with sustenance and substance the empty molds, the hollow forms of the horoscope. Therefore, the time for casting horoscopes is really past. It will no longer do to ask, what is the influence of the Moon's or the Sun's position at one's birth, or the like. Maybe in one case or another we shall still get answers in this way, but the answers will not have sustaining force. On the contrary, they will take away from us. Yet it is altogether different if we ask this other question: What the position of the Sun or Moon or other planets at or before our birth requires of us by way of independent, self-made earthly deeds and sentiments and thoughts. Unlimited would be the scope of an astrology tending to this kind of self-education. This alone would lift us up to our true cosmic station.