Book by Maurice Fernandez
Mountain Astrologer Review by Mary Plumb
Maurice Fernandez’s new book (2009), Astrology and the Evolution of Consciousness, is a beginning text on astrology, which is also integrated to a particular spiritual path. In this case, as Robert Blaschke writes in his Foreword, the knowledge herein was “originally passed down to us from Swami Sri Yukteswar in his book, The Holy Science, and from his direct disciple, Paramahansa Yogananda, in his book, Autobiography of a Yogi.” Yogananda’s book has been pivotal in introducing countless spiritual seekers to a lineage of sacred knowledge.
This book from Fernandez is a contribution to what is sometimes known as Evolutionary Astrology, basically an astrology that assumes the notion of reincarnation and considers the spiritual growth of the individual. Fernandez writes about the value of a spiritual approach to astrology: “No configuration represents a fixed and finite potential; there is always room for more growth and depth as a person becomes more evolutionarily conscious.” Although these ideas can be difficult to communicate, the author is a very good teacher. He establishes his foundational points thoroughly and then builds from there, repeating as necessary and thus making the work accessible to beginners.
I was captivated at the very beginning by his understanding of the elements as indicators of a way of experiencing life. In Chapter 2, “The Language of Astrology,” he discusses the elements and their combinations, the modes, hemispheres, and quadrants, with insights that are both fresh and wise. He describes “The Twelve Archetypes” of the signs; introduces the “Signs, Planets, and Houses”; and then, in greater detail, writes about “The Moon in Signs and Houses” and “The Sun in Signs and Houses.” The author delineates each luminary in the sign, in the sign’s associated house, and in aspect to the sign’s ruling planet as one motif (e.g., “The Sun in Aries, in the 1st House, or in Aspect to Mars,” or “The Moon in Scorpio, in the 8th House, or in Aspect to Pluto”). Although this approach may sound oversimplified to more advanced students, Fernandez offers a description of the essence of each archetype that is deeper, and yet easier to grasp, than similar delineations in many other books.
Chapter 7, “The Moon and the Sun in Synthesis” (i.e., the Moon in each sign, combined with the Sun in each sign), has succinct paragraphs noting the Orientation and Outcome for each combination and a Famous figure representing each. Although this is a fine, all-around book for those who are drawn to this kind of spiritual approach, the author is particularly insightful about the Moon. He describes the Moon, in part, as where and how we take in new experiences, and he sees it as a key to evolutionary growth. A disarmingly simple idea that Fernandez explores and develops from different angles is: “Change and evolution cannot be rushed; growth occurs when it is emotionally integrated.”
“The Evolutionary Levels of Consciousness” is a chapter with an extensive treatment of the three levels as defined herein: Consensus, Individuated, and Spiritual Consciousness. Fernandez then describes the three stages within each level and gives examples of each, making this part of the book an in-depth exploration of how evolution occurs and how it can be understood through the astrological archetypes. Although the author is keen on the idea that “the person’s evolutionary level of consciousness greatly influences how the chart’s energy is used,” he also emphasizes that “the evolutionary level of consciousness is not described in a person’s chart in any way: it can only be assessed when making contact with the individual.” He elaborates on the individual’s value system as the reference for the level of consciousness. Maurice Fernandez writes with a sense of familiarity and yet humility about this tricky business of consciousness levels. There are other models for measuring levels of consciousness out there (Gurdjieff and Dr. David Hawkins come immediately to mind), so although Fernandez explains his approach in detail, I don’t think it’s essential to follow these specifics to be able to apply his ideas and get a lot of value from this book.
Astrology and the Evolution of Consciousness obviously covers expansive themes, and the layout and design of the book serve it well. There are attractive chart wheels and bold and bulleted points