The astrological mandala

The astrological mandala


One of the subjects where the French musician and philosopher Dane Rudhyar has contributed to astrology is the Astrological mandala.

In this article I give a short description about the structure of the astrological mandala and about the way it might be used by astrologers in daily practice.

Birth chart

At the moment we are born, we start the great journey to awakening of our soul. The birth chart shows us a picture of energies we have to cope with and to use for our personal growth. A birth chart (both for individuals and institutions) show the energies we have to take as a starting point.

During our lives we become ourselves exposed to energies of the cyclic processes, related to the movement of planets around the Sun and their mutual interactions in a never ending variety of effects. These energies are at an arbitrary moment the almost the same for everybody in a limited area. The difference in effect on individuals is related to the sequence, moment and contents it affects elements in an individual birth chart and the way psychological processes are influenced. In this way developments in the individual journey of awakening can be foreseen, as the sequence and timeframe of these energies are fixed. Astrological techniques can be used as an important help for explanation.

In this article I will explain the potential role of the astrological mandala in our journey of awakening. How the message of the astrological mandala is of influence of all elements within an institution is explained with the use of a birth chart of an institution.

The astrological mandala

The astrological mandala is a method where every degree of the zodiac is represented by an archetypical picture (Sabian symbol). The pictures for these symbols were received channelled by Elsie Wheeler in 1925 and systematically recorded by Marc Edmund Jones.

The word Sabian refers to a tribe in the Middle East (Turkey/Syria) forming the cradle for the filosophical tradition based on Hermes Trismegistus. Jones was founder of the Sabian Assembly (for further information see, a society striving to practice astrology based on the ideas of Pythagoras.

Dane Rudhyar, who was a friend of Jones, decided to investigate the meaning of the astrological mandala in relation with his holistic astrological approach and discovered that every symbol reveals an archetypical significance of a fundamental phase in human existence. These 360 archetypical symbols show mutual a cyclic character. Dane Rudhyar published his findings in the book “An Astrological Mandala” ISBN 0-394-71992-1.


The 360 degrees of the zodiac are grouped in 2 hemicycles of 180 degrees the  process of individualization (Aries 1 to Virgo 30) and the process of collectivization (Libra 1 to Pisces 30). The process of individualization should lead to the development of a well balanced self, the process of collectivization focuses on the development of the individual in relation to the environment.

Each hemicycle  consists of 2 acts (differentiation: Aries 1 to Gemini 30, stabilization: Cancer 1 to Virgo 30,  group integration: Libra 1 to Sagittarius 30, capitalization: Capricorn 1 to Pisces 30).

Each act has 6 scenes (in total 24 for the complete zodiac). Each scene is subdivided in 3  levels (Actional – Emotional cultural – Individual mental – Group performance). Each level has 5 phases.

Each degree of the zodiac is represented in an archetypical symbol, a keynote (a short first psychological interpretation of the symbol) and a further explanation in relation to the cyclic processes.

A symbol gives a representation of something rational and objective and shows the relation between a specific human need and the capability to fulfill this need. The symbolized archetypical picture leaves space for interpretation in different contexts.

The significance of the four angles in the horoscope

A horoscope shows on the one side the position of the astrological factors (Sun, Moon and planets) at a certain moment, on the other side it gives a description of the potency of the unique self. In a horoscope the angels (Ascendant, Descendant, Nadir and Mid Heaven) have a special significance. For instance the assignment an individual or organism received at creation can be clarified.

The degree of the ascendant (AC) shows the nature and the meaning, to WHAT it is leading. The degree of the descendant (DC) shows the WHERETO, to what is it leading. The degree of the nadir (IC) shows how the awareness of the own socio cultural environment best can be used and integrated in the process of realization (HOW) and the degree of the Mid Heaven (MC) indicates the ultimate meaning of this incarnation or creation and the ultimate culmination the individual or organism can achieve as a result of the whole cycle of proceedings (the WHY).

It seems a simple whole, however one can immediately object the zodiac has a limited number of degrees of 360 and lots of people and institutions start with the same assignment, indicating how the unique self can be fulfilled. However in reality it is much more complex and this is elaborated in the following paragraph.

The cyclic character of human experience.

The archetypical meaning of the degrees of the zodiac represented in the angles of the horoscope show the what, the Whereto, the how and the why of the assignment. angels show The number of combinations of angels seems limited, however when we consider the how we understand that the socio cultural context for every individual differs as well as for an institution. As a result the influence on the process of life will differ accordingly.

A further refinement is caused by the position of Sun, Moon and planets. Every one of these factors will contribute to the realisation of life’s assignment. The archetype for the degree of the Sun in the zodiac, e.g. indicate the source of power to feed the individual in its development, the degree of the Moon indicates the capability to adapt to the environment and circumstances, and the ability to transfer the solar energy.

The degree for Mercury indicate the means and way of communicating, the degree for Venus indicates the value of what should be achieved, the degree of Mars how the organism will mobilize its energies, the degree of Jupiter indicates the capability to develop and the degree of Saturn indicates the structure that should be maintained. This already appears more complex and making unique, however there are more mechanism explaining the cyclic process of the roadmap from birth (the WHAT) to fulfilment (the WHY). Examples of representations of such cyclic processes are the lunar return and the solar return.

In a lunar return the horoscope is made at the moment the Moon returns to its birth position. In a lunar return chart the emotional blueprint of the coming period of 29 days is depicted. The position of angles in a lunar return give information about the way an individual will adapt to its surroundings and will transfer solar energy in the coming period of 29 days.

In a solar return, the moment once a year when the Sun returns to its exact position in the birth chart, in far most cases only the Sun is in its position as in the birth chart. The position of the angles and planets in a solar return give information about the assignment for the coming year for the individual within the context of the assignment of the birth chart and especially how the source of life power can contribute to the awakening of the soul.

The indications from the birth chart can’t be realised in a straight way. Every time again the individual should adapt to the challenges created in the cyclic processes and represented by lunar return, solar return, transits and secondary progressions. This is true for every object or subject these processes have influence on, whether this is an organic individual or a company or another institution.