What is Integral Astrology?

Integral Astrology is a way of approaching astrology from the perspective of integral theory. Based on the work of Ken Wilber, Jenny Wade, and many others, this way of thinking attempts to incorporate all the domains of existence, body, mind, soul and spirit in a way that honors the truths of each.

The basic idea is that we each function in many areas of life - for example, relationship, career, social/political, artistic/aesthetic, musical, ethical, psychosexual, athletic - and we each have more or less developed skills in each of these areas. Just as in school some people are "good at math" while they struggle at social studies, you've probably noticed in yourself and others that it's possible to be a real genius in the area of career, while a real dunce at relationships, or to have great musical ability while lacking a strong sense of ethics.

Coordinating all these different areas of life is the Self.

The Self is kind of like the “center of gravity” created by all the individual areas of life, each of which is at its own level of development. The Self is an indication of where we are in our overall development, and also what we think about ourselves, how we know ourselves. That is, the Self tells us what about ourselves we identify with. In general, we identify with the level of development that is consistent with the most important individual areas of life.

For example, many people would identify themselves with their personal relationships, their sense of ethics, and their social position (including career and reputation). These important areas of life are more likely to contribute to self-image than, say, musical ability, unless of course you happen to be a musician.

There are many aspects of integral theory and how it relates to astrology, which I’ll be covering in subsequent articles. For now, I want to relate what I’ve said so far to astrology.

The individual areas of life are represented by the planets and the houses of the horoscope. What is not represented is the level of development in each of these areas. Although the chart can show which areas are under stress, in the birth chart or by transits, it can’t show how we will respond to these stresses and challenges. Whether we use them as opportunities to grow or harden our attitude towards that area of life and become stuck is the result of many factors, especially the degree of awareness we bring to that issue.

It is possible to say which areas of life are coming under stress at a particular time, and what the flavor of that stress will be. The type of challenges we’re called to meet, from where they will come, and what kind of growth opportunity they represent are well described by astrology. But how these challenges will be met by each of us depends on where we are in that area of life when the changes begin. If we are relatively well developed in that area, we are likely to have a good understanding of what’s going on, and use even a tough transit to grow even further.

If our awareness is lacking, we are more likely to be blind sided by “fate” and feel that the transit is running, and maybe ruining, our lives. Still, even if we have a tough time of it, when we bring awareness to an issue, it always presents us with an opportunity to catch up in our awareness and personal evolution. In fact, it is often when a difficult transit hits an undeveloped area of life that we do the most growing.

Astrology seemed complicated enough when it was represented by the two-dimensional birth chart. Adding a third dimension, that of development, evolution, or growth, might seem to make it more complex, but in many ways it actually simplifies matters by bringing things into the foreground. Just as a three dimensional graphic can bring a map to life, an integral approach can make astrology clearer, more useful, and in many ways simpler.

Find out more about the specifics of an Integral Astrology Consultation by clicking here.