The Imaginal Zodiac

I consider astrology to be an imaginal art and the role of the astrologer, I believe, is that of artist weaving the threads of this mythic imagination in a meaningful and coherent narrative. The Imaginal Realm is the realm of Soul and it is irreducible plural in its perspectives and outlooks. The 12 perspectives of the zodiac cannot be reduced to one another, and neither the planets that govern them. The Zodiac belongs to the realm of soul, and is by its very nature a mystery that it will unfold its wisdom to us, only through our own imaginative participation. As James Hillman says: “the soul is not a sustance, but a set of is the imaginative possibility in our natures, the experiencing through reflective speculation, dream, image and fantasy – that mode which recognises all realities as primarily symbolic or metaphorical.”

The Zodiac has formed the basis of mystery traditions, and initiatory journeys throughout the western world – we see this in incredible sculptures, mosaics and bas reliefs from all over Europe and the middle-east. The traditions have been carefully preserved in mythic memory, and through our own imaginative participation, we can still take that initiatory journey today.

On the Alchemical Journey, we’re really walking in the footsteps of countless ancient mystery traditions, following follow a twelve-fold path of initiation. It’s an alchemical training following the path of the Sun through the seasons, through the twelve months of the year and through the twelve astrological portals or gateways – the 12 signs of the zodiac. It’s really one of the richest and most coherent imaginative frameworks we have available to us as human beings. We’re working with a really ancient form of magical work, and we’re making it really relevant to the challenges we face in our modern lives, but without losing the magic. We’re really careful to honour that magic straw that takes us into the other world, the imaginal world.

We find the theme of the journey through the Zodiac repeated in the Greek, Babylonian and Egyptian iconography, but also in Christian, Jewish and Islamic art also. We find it in the stories of Arthur and his 12 knights, the 12 labours of Hercules, Jesus and his twelve disciples, the 12 tribes of Israel – they all carry a memory of this twelve-fold journey. They are relate directly to the Zodiac. The idea of an initiate taking a cyclical transformation journey around a wheel of animal figures – it has a powerful coherence for our imaginations – and it seems to be deeply woven in our collective psyche.

So The Alchemical Journey is a journey through the Imaginal Sky, the Imaginal Heavens. It is about re-connecting to the heavenly half of our experience, that more-than-human half, that we have neglected so much with our modern secular thinking. The heavens are the place of soul, they are a place where our imagination can play and these fabulous animals and beings in the night sky – they can enchant us – reconnect us to a meaningful cosmos.
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