Realistically oriented, a Self-Actualizing (SA) person has a more efficient perception
of reality, and has comfortable relations with it. This is extended to all areas of life.
A Self-Actualizing person is unthreatened and unfrightened by the unknown. He
has a superior ability to reason, to see the truth, and is logical and efficient.
Accepts himself, others and the natural world the way they are. Sees human nature
as is, has a lack of crippling guilt or shame, enjoys himself without regret or
apology, and has no unnecessary inhibitions.
Spontaneity, Simplicity, Naturalness
Spontaneous in his inner life. Thoughts and impulses are unhampered by
convention. His ethics are autonomous, and Self-actualizing individuals are
motivated to continual growth.
Focus of Problem Centering
A Self-actualizing person focuses on problems and people outside of himself.
He has a mission in life requiring much energy, as it is his sole reason for
existence. He is serene, characterized by a lack of worry, and is devoted to duty.
Detachment: The Need for Privacy
The Self-actualized person can be alone and not be lonely, is unflappable, and
retains dignity amid confusion and personal misfortunes, all the while
remaining objective. He is a self starter, is responsible for himself, and owns
Autonomy: Independent of Culture and Environment
The SA person has a fresh rather than stereotyped appreciation of people and
the basic good in life. Moment to moment living for him is thrilling, trans-
cending, and spiritual as he lives the present moment to the fullest.
"Feelings of limitless horizons opening up to the vision, the feeling of being
simultaneously more powerful and also more helpless than one ever was before,
the feeling of ecstasy and wonder and awe, the loss of placement in time and
space with, finally, the conviction that something extremely important and val-
uable had happened, so that the subject was to some extent transformed and
strengthened even in his daily life by such experiences." Abraham Maslow
Identification, sympathy, affection for mankind, kinship with the good, bad,
and ugly are all traits of the SA person. Truth is clear to him as he can see
things others cannot. He has profound, intimate relationships with few and is
capable of greater love than others consider possible as he shares his bene-
volence, affection, and friendliness with everyone.
Democratic values and attitudes
The SA person is able to learn from anyone, is humble and friendly with anyone
regardless of class, education, political belief, race or color.
Discrimination: means and ends, Good and Evil
The SA does not confuse between means and ends and does no wrong. He enjoys
the here and now, getting to goal--not just the result. He makes the most tedious
task an enjoyable game and has his own inner moral standards (appearing
amoral to others).
Philosophical, unhostile sense of humor
Jokes to the SA person are teaching metaphors, intrinsic to the situation and
are spontaneous. He can laugh at himself, but he never makes jokes that hurt
The SA person enjoys an inborn uniqueness that carries over into everything
he does, is original, inventive, uninhibited, and he sees the real and true more
Resistance to enculturation: Transcendence of any particular culture
SA people have an inner detachment from culture. Although folkways may be
observed, SA people are not controlled by them. Working for long term culture
improvement, indignation with injustice, inner autonomy, outer acceptance, and
the ability to transcend the environment rather than just cope are intrinsic to
SA people are painfully aware of their own imperfections and joyfully aware of
their own growth process. They are impatient with themselves when stuck and
feel real life pain as a result.
The SA person is realistically human due to a philosophical acceptance of self,
human nature, social life, physical reality, and nature.
Resolution of dichotomies
Polar opposites merge into a third, higher phenomenon as though the two have
united; therefore, opposite forces are no longer felt as conflict. To the SA
person work becomes play and desires are in excellent accord with reason.
The SA person retains his childlike qualities yet is very wise.
Achieving Self Actualization
Jump to the following topics:
- What is the Self?
we encounter the Self, we re-evaluate the ego.
- The Self grants
gain many benefits from an identification with the Self.
- We cannot
know the Self intellectually.
- We can meet the
Self in other ways.
truly become acquainted with the Self during midlife.
What is the Self? (In this book,
the capitalized word, "Self," is used in accordance with Jungian
psychology; obviously the word, "self," has other meanings in other
contexts.) The Self has been described in various ways:
- It is the part of the psyche which organizes and directs the
rest of the psyche -- the ego, the conscious mind, the personal
unconscious, and all other elements of our psychological being.
- It is the totality of the psyche, including all of the
elements, such as the ego, etc. Because the Self is all of the
psyche, its viewpoint contains an objectivity, acceptance,
reconciliation, and balance of the "opposites" of ego and shadow,
persona and shadow, and our many contradictory feelings and
- It is the center of the psyche (like the nucleus of an atom)
to which the other parts of the psyche are connected and
- It is an archetype.
- It is a transcendent, unchanging part of ourselves, in
contrast to the ever-varying ego, shadow, complexes, etc.
- It is a "God-image" within the psyche. Although Jung was
criticized for allegedly implying that the Self is God, he
stressed that the Self is not God itself but rather only an image
of God, a representation of God as it would be depicted within the
psyche (although he did call the Self the "God within us" in
Psychology and Religion on page 334). An encounter with
the Self feels like a "religious experience" with God; Jung said
that the occurrence leaves us vitalized" and "enriched." In
addition to being a symbol of God in the psyche, the Self could
also be considered a symbol of what the religions call the "soul."
we encounter the Self, we re-evaluate the ego. Some people mistakenly
think that when they encounter the Self, they are simply discovering
a greater view of their ego; this error can cause the people to (1)
inflate their ideas regarding themselves (believing that the God-like
numinosity of the Self is their own personal magnificence), or (2)
weaken the ego (as the person attempts to rise into the Self's
transcendence at the expense of the ego's healthy structure and
limits). Ideally, in our meeting with the larger "Self," we retain
the sense of the ego's small"self" as a still-valid part of
ourselves. The ego is no longer our only center of identity; thus its
importance downsizes to being simply one element of many in the
psyche -- still powerful and important as a "manager" but it is not
the big boss.
The Self grants
new perspectives. When we can look at the ego from the viewpoint of
the Self, we gain an objective understanding of the nature of the ego
-- its claim to be our identity, its sense of distinction and
preeminence over the psyche's other functions, its preferences and
tastes, its quests for personal growth and mastery, and its
self-centered perspective (which is not a bad thing but rather a
vital standpoint for our focus and protection). When we meet the
Self, we realize that we have previously assigned some of the Self's
functions to the ego simply because we did not know the Self, and the
ego seemed to be the only part of us which could fill these roles.
Now we can transfer some the ego's functions to that Self; for
example, instead of allowing the ego to devise our goals, we accept
the Self's goals, which are aligned toward the actualization of its
life-purpose; the ego, without the wise, balancing influence of the
Self, tends to select goals that are no more than ego-symbols, such
as an audacious home.
gain many benefits from an identification with the Self.
- A deeper understanding of the components of the psyche,
because the Self has an overview of the psyche. Our Self's
perspective is free from the ego's distortions, such as, for
example, a fear of the shadow.
- Better management of the psyche. Our psychological management
-- ego management, shadow management, persona management, etc. --
is performed with a greater awareness and adeptness, because of
the Self's knowledge and objectivity.
- A slackening of psychological battles. These include the
battles of the ego against the shadow, the subpersonalities, the
unconscious mind (as in repression), etc. We allow the Self to
settle disputes internally with its intimate understanding of the
parties involved. Since we do not cling to the ego's viewpoint, we
can allow a compromise which is best for all. Also, when our ego
is balanced by the Self, it is less likely to provoke external
battles, which would engage us with the ego of another person.
- More resources. With our new comprehension of the psyche's
elements, we can use those elements' attributes to contribute to
our well-being and productivity. For example, we might gain better
access to the unconscious mind's repressed memories, and the
energy of the shadow's contents, and the formerly split-off
qualities of our subpersonalities.
- Freedom. The Self accepts all "opposite" traits, including the
ones which we selected for our ego and persona, and the contrary
ones which we cast into the shadow. From the viewpoint of Self, we
have a clear vision and objectivity regarding all of those traits,
so we have the freedom and ability to reevaluate our selection,
and perhaps redefine the ego and persona with this doubled
repertoire of available, opposite traits. And because our identity
is now invested in the wholistic Self, we have more leeway in
choosing to commit, for example, a generous action or a selfish
(i.e., tightly protective) action, without being bound to the
ego's inflexible self-image (and resulting behavior) as a
"selfish" or "generous" person.
- Detachment. The ego is in a world of boundaries, and schemes
to expand those boundaries, and defenses against threats to the
boundaries. The Self respects those priorities of the ego, but it
is not engrossed in the ego's urgency and combativeness and
emotional reactions; instead, it has a dispassionate, transcendent
overview (which includes but is not limited to the ego's
perspective). For example, whereas the ego might sense the
emergence of contrary shadow material as a danger, the Self
welcomes the occurrence as the awakening of a valid part of
itself. When we are looking from the standpoint of Self, we are
"detached" from the ego's desperate attempts at leadership, and we
see that much of that desperation derives from the ego's
cognizance that it truly is incompetent when claiming the
leadership role which can be fulfilled adequately only by the
Self. However, this detachment is not a cold withdrawal from life;
instead, we might now engage life more robustly, because we do not
suffer so much at the ego's inevitable setbacks in whatever new
challenges we assume.
- Direction. When we realize that the Self has knowledge and
power which are superior to that of the ego, we sensibly,
strategically submit to this greater entity, and allow the ego to
receive direction from it -- direction which might be contrary to
the ego's short-sighted preferences. This submission is similar to
that of a religious surrender to "the will of God"; some Jungian
writers have said that the submission of the small self to the
greater Self is like the crucifixion of Jesus, but the analogy is
inaccurate because, unlike the human Jesus, the ego lives on,
although in a different role.
- Individuality. Because the Self's inclusiveness allows a full
spectrum from which to select behaviors and identity components,
we become more obviously unique and "individual". Our
individualism is charged with vitality and realness because we
develop ourselves on the lines of the Self's destiny and life-plan
instead of self-consciously creating ourselves from the ego's
ideas of its own enhancement (primarily through material symbols
of success, etc.)
know the Self intellectually. Although we can make certain
observations about the Self (as this chapter has done), we cannot
study the Self in the same manner in which a scientist would examine
an amoeba under a microscope. Because the Self is the entirety of us,
any viewpoint (such as the ego's viewpoint of the Self) would have a
limiting blind spot, as in the situation of an eyeball trying to look
at itself. We would be separating ourselves as "observer" and
"observed" when in fact the Self is both. As Jung said (in
Psychology and Religion on page 334), "Intellectually the
Self is no more than a psychological concept, a construct that serves
to express an unknowable essence which we cannot grasp as such, since
by definition it transcends our powers of comprehension."
We can meet the
Self in other ways. To the extent that the Self is comprehensible, we
can become familiar with it through the sheer experience of it. We
might also meet the Self in a dream's symbolic images, such as those
of mandalas or crystals. One author said that the Self is symbolized
not only by religious figures such as the Buddha, but also by
cultural figures like Superman and Santa Claus. Until we discover
this god-like Self within ourselves, we often project it onto people
who exhibit "spiritual" qualities such as unconditional acceptance
(e.g., a therapist, pastor, or a dear friend), or we might project it
upon an object (such as a crucifix) or a place (such as a church) or
an organization (such as a charity association).
truly become acquainted with the Self during midlife. Life is a
cycle; in youth, we need to concentrate on the development the ego
and its external manifestations -- home, career, "our place in the
world," our persona, our differentiation from other people, etc.
Midlife is triggered by our relative completion of this ego
development. At midlife, we have finished the first part of our life,
and now we turn to the next task in the cycle of life, which is to
re-integrate that which we needed to separate out during the
ego-building stage; we meet the shadow, the anima or animus, and
other previously ignored material. As we become familiar with those
parts of ourselves, and we gain a view of the totality of us, we
awaken to the synergism of these parts: they are not just separate
elements, but they are also part of an overall system which has a
great consciousness of its own. This system is the Self.
self-actualization (self'ak'chu œ lœ zäshœn), n.
1. Knowledge of one's true, inner self. Fulfillment by oneself of the possibilities of one's character or personality.
2. A term originally introduced by the organismic theorist, Kurt Goldstein, for the motive to realize all of one's potentialities.
3. In Abraham Maslow's theory of personality, the final level of psychological development that can be achieved when all basic and meta needs are fulfilled and the "actualization" of the full personal potential takes place.
It is the expression of human qualities of independence, autonomy, a tendency to form deep friendships, a "philosophical" sense of humor, tendency to resist outside pressures, and a general transcendence of the environment, rather than a simple "coping" with it.
Self-actualization is our need to realize wholly who we deep down know we can be. It is that burning need to 'seize the day' and to actualize that sense of vibrancy, integrity, and passion that life offers. It is that drive to make the most of our lives… to utilize fully our physical, mental and soulful capacities....William James
astrology is one of the oldest and most respected tools known to humanity for
the guidance of souls, the term "astrotherapy" is a fairly new one.
Max Heindel, founder of
the Rosicrucian Fellowship, has applied the term "astrotherapy" to refer to all
forms of healing (Heindel & Heindel, 1973).
Prior to the age of enlightenment in Europe, astrology was used as the primary
basis for all medical diagnoses. Heindel believed that astrotherapy worked
according to the alchemic principles or laws of "Compatibility" and "Systemic
many mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, social
workers, marriage and family therapists, and mental health counselors, who use
astrology, either as an
adjunct tool or as the major tool for guidance in psychotherapy, have started
referring to its use as "astrotherapy."
Basically, astrotherapy is the
application of astrological or planetary symbolism in the context of
The birth chart can be used to
determine where the counseling process should optimally focus at a particular
time and how long a particular process may be operative.
Therapists consider astrology
to be a valuable tool in psychotherapy because it can help assess the kinds of
issues that a client is likely to be facing at a particular time. It can
also help in choosing the most appropriate and effective approach to
psychotherapy because it describes the personality of the client and the nature
of the events that have brought the client to therapy.
In astrotherapy, astrology is
employed for its power and ability to aid in psychological healing and growth.
It is also used to assist and guide in the transformation of the client's
personality and to facilitate self-actualization and self-transcendence.
Some psychologists, or
"astropsychologists," believe that
can be used to foster empathy for the client's internal world, that astrology
represents a theory of personality, that it can be used as a diagnostic tool,
and that it can be used to help relieve existing symptoms and promote positive
Many students of astrology use
it as a form of auto- or self-therapy. They use their birth chart to help
guide themselves toward greater psychological and spiritual awareness.
At this time there are no laws
governing the licensure of either "Astrotherapy," or the "astrotherapists," who
use astrology therapeutically in their practices or consultations.
Astrology assumes that there are patterns of energy
underlying the universe and that these patterns flow throughout the universe and are
reflected in its very contents. These same
patterns and cycles are reflected in the movements of stars and planets as well
as in the movements of people and events. Hence, the movements of people
and events are not caused by stellar or planetary movements. Both reflect
the same patterns of energy underlying the movements and life of the universe
itself. Therefore, our characters and destinies are
reflected throughout the universe from the smallest subquanta to the largest
galaxies because the same energy patterns are found throughout. The
psychologist Carl Jung used the term "synchronicity" to refer to this
interrelatedness shared by all things.
Additionally, the past, present, and future of all patterns and cycles of
energy are believed to be reflected by the contents of the universe as well. The past and
the future of all energy patterns can be seen within each particle that makes up
the universe no matter where the particle may be within its own cycle.
Dane Rudhyar is
considered to be the founder of modern day astrotherapy. In the 1930's he
enriched the art of astrological interpretation by applying concepts from Jung's
school of analytic psychology and from Annie Besant's (Besant, 1953; Besant & Leadbeater,
1969) and Alan
1967) schools of
theosophy. He also popularized the techniques and philosophical
interpretations developed by Marc Edmond Jones. Rudhyar especially liked
Jung's belief that the self seeks psychic wholeness through the process of
"individuation." Rudhyar believed that the natal chart was one of the best
symbols for the process of individuation as it is expressed in the life of each
writings, Rudhyar borrowed heavily from the humanistic school of psychology,
especially from the person-centered philosophies of Carl Rogers and the
self-actualization theories of Abraham Maslow. After founding the
humanistic school of astrology, Rudhyar followed in the footsteps of the
humanistic psychologists by developing the transpersonal school of astrology.
He further enriched the practice of astrological interpretation by adding to it
spiritual concepts found in yoga, Hinduism, Buddhism, and other Asian and
suggested that the birth chart can be interpreted on four basic levels:
The biological level, which refers to medical astrology; 2., the sociocultural
level, which refers to vocational, talent, work, and career issues; 3., the
humanistic or psychologically oriented level; and 4., the transpersonal level.
On the humanistic or person-centered level, the purpose of astrology is to seek
fulfillment as an individual through self-knowledge and self-actualization.
The term "personhood," referring to sociocultural success and
self-actualization, is the primary focus of humanistic astrology. On the
transpersonal level, astrology is used to facilitate initiation and transition
into states of expanded awareness, self-consecration, and spiritually inspired
creative activity. The term "selfhood," referring to self-transcendence
and transpersonal creativity, is the focus of transpersonal astrology (Rudhyar,
The humanistic approach to
astrology assumes that every planetary position is purposeful and has a positive
potential. The birth chart is considered to be the inner blueprint for the
client's unfolding. A growth-oriented attitude is used in the
interpretation of the chart. It is assumed that synchronizing the client's
life with the planetary pattern will move the client more rapidly forward in his
or her personal evolution.
Greg Bogart, who has written
extensively on "therapeutic astrology," has reported that astrology can be used
to identify major themes and repeated areas of emphasis in the person's life; to
perceive unconscious patterns of thought, feeling, or behavior; to help the
client view life from a symbolic and cyclic perspective that reveals the
underlying meaning and purpose of events, including chaotic or painful
experiences; to help the client make choices that are appropriate to the
developmental path suggested by the birth chart; to explore the kinds of
experiences the client might expect during a given period of time, as indicated
by planetary transits and progressions; to assist the client through crises of
spiritual awakening; to help the counselor understand the client more fully and
thereby increase therapeutic empathy; to facilitate the therapist's ability to
help the client resolve core life dilemmas and navigate crucial transitional
periods; and to understand the rhythm and various stages of psychotherapy and
processes such as resistance, de compensation, transference, and