Great Minds in Astrology: Dane Rudhyar

Welcome to a series about the Great Minds in Astrology.  Each month this post will look at the key thinkers and practitioners in the field of astrology, from ancient to contemporary times. Numerous men and women have made significant contributions to the field of astrology.  These Great Minds provide a large bibliography of writings worth reading and putting into your own astrology library.

This article will distill a thinker’s essential and many contributions and provide a book list of their key works.  As with any thinkers who write extensively, some books stand out more than others, and these will be identified.  Some works have practical application and others are theoretical, depending on whether or not you wish to practice astrology or just study it.

I will begin this series with Dane Rudhyar.

Dane Rudhyar (March 23, 1895 – September 13, 1985)

He was born Daniel Chennevière, a French-born American author, modernist composer, and humanistic astrologer. He was a pioneer of modern transpersonal astrology.  The Wikipedia page offers an excellent, succinct biography.

Below are key moments in his personal history that were important for astrology in the 20th Century:

Rudhyar learned astrology during a period when he was also studying the psychological writings of Carl G. Jung, and he began to think in terms of bringing astrology and Jungian psychology together.

The marriage between astrology and depth-psychology overcame some basic problems, including astrology’s deterministic approach to life and the trouble of designating an agreeable agent to produce the astrological effects. Rudhyar postulated that the stars did not cause the effects seen in human life but were pictures synchronistically aligned to human beings.

They detailed psychological forces working in individuals but did not override human freedom in responding to those forces, he said. At first, he called his new interpretation “harmonic astrology” and as the ideas matured renamed it “humanistic astrology,” the subject of his monumental volume, The Astrology of Personality, published in 1936.

Over the next two decades, Rudhyar continued to write and lecture on astrology; but while he was honored within the astrological community, he was little known outside of it. It was not until the 1970s, as the New Age movement emerged, that major publishing houses discovered him and began to publish his writings: among the first was The Practice of Astrology, published in 1970 by Penguin Books.

Still Relevant Today

In many ways, Rudhyar and his contemporaries – Robert Hand, Jeff Green, Demetra George, and Stephen Arroyo – helped astrology transition from obscurity into practical application in a modern, psychological world.  His humanistic view keeps his writing from being trapped in the era of his life, unlike what happens when you read Alan Leo or C. E. O. Carter’s work.  Excellent academic writing transcends or mostly transcends the culture and history of an era.  Rudhyar was able to achieve this feat with his writing.

Bear in mind that he was not writing for a pop-psychology audience or “astrology made easy” readers, so much of his work is “dense”, “pithy”, and scholarly.  The wiki page nicely sums up his writing:

Most of Rudhyar’s more than forty books and hundreds of articles concern astrology and spirituality. The book that established his reputation in the astrological field was his first on the subject, The Astrology of Personality (1936). Arguing that astrology is not essentially predictive but rather productive of intuitive insights, The Astrology of Personality was one of the most influential tracts of “free-will” astrology, despite being written in the dense, circuitous style that characterizes much of Rudhyar’s writing.

His insights about what astrology needed to be and how he used it would be similar to the Reformation changes to the Catholic Church in the 1500 and 1600s.

The Books to Read

Again, the wiki page provides a full bibliography, in case you might be interested in reading his fiction novels or his writings on music.  In terms of the subject of astrology, below are the books you should own and read:

  • Rudhyar, Dane: The Astrology of Personality: A Reformulation of Astrological Concepts and Ideals, in Terms of Contemporary Psychology and Philosophy, New York: Lucis Publishing, 1936.
  • Rudhyar, Dane: The Lunation Cycle. A Key to the Understanding of Personality, The Hague, Netherlands: Servire. Distributed in the United States by Llewellyn Publication, 1967.
  • Rudhyar, Dane: An Astrological Triptych: The Illuminated Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico: Aurora Press, 1968.
  • Rudhyar, Dane: Astrology for New Minds: A Non-dualistic Harmonic Approach to Astrological Charts and to the Relation Between Man and the Universe, Lakemont, Georgia: CSA Press, 1969.
  • Rudhyar, Dane: The Practice of Astrology, New York: Penguin Books, 1970.
  • Rudhyar, Dane: The Astrological Houses: The Spectrum of Individual Experience, Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1972.
  • Rudhyar, Dane: Person-centered Astrology, Lakemont, Ga.: CSA Press, 1972.
  • Rudhyar, Dane: The Planetarization of Consciousness, New York: Harper, 1972.
  • Rudhyar, Dane: Astrological Timing: The Transition to the New Age, New York: Harper & Row, 1972.
  • Rudhyar, Dane: An Astrological Mandala: The Cycle of Transformations and Its 360 Symbolic Phases, 1973.
  • Rudhyar, Dane: The Rhythm of Human Fulfillment: In Tune with Cosmic Cycles, Palo Alto, California: The Seed Center, 1973.
  • Rudhyar, Dane: The Astrology of America’s Destiny: A Birth Chart for the United States of America, New York: Random House, 1974.
  • Rudhyar, Dane: The Sun Is Also A Star: The Galactic Dimension of Astrology, New York: Dutton, 1975.
  • Rudhyar, Dane: From Humanistic to Transpersonal Astrology, Palo Alto, California: The Seed Center, 1975
  • Rudhyar, Dane: The Astrology of Transformation: A Multilevel Approach, Wheaton, Ill.: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980.

The Books to Read for Practical Application

As a professional astrologer, certain books from the list above have been instrumental for developing my practices.  First and foremost is The Lunation Cycle. A Key to the Understanding of Personality, which takes you through the many phases of the Moon and how to interpret them, especially in progressed charts. 

Also, The Astrological Houses: The Spectrum of Individual Experience is an excellent read on the Houses of the Zodiac.  This is a volume where you can catch some glimpses of his time period, but the core information is invaluable.

And finally, I highly recommend Person-Centered Astrology as something of a “best hits” text.  The essence of his ideas and works matured in this volume, published in 1972, thirty-six years after The Astrology of Personality: A Reformulation of Astrological Concepts and Ideals, in Terms of Contemporary Psychology and Philosophy.  If you only get these three books, you will deepen your astrology knowledge immensely.

Philip Young, PhD

I am a spiritual adviser located in Cary, North Carolina. I earned my PhD in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1996 and had a career in academics until 2007, when I retired to become a stay-at-home father. In 2013 I “hung out my shingle” starting my business Black Unykorn Enterprises, LLC. I provide spiritual guidance using different tools: astrology, tarot/oracle cards, numerology, and past life regression (using muscle testing). With a home office, Zoom, WeChat, and WhatsApp, I work with local clients in person and distance clients from around the world. You can read about my practice and contact me through my website: https://www.blackunykorn.com.

Related Articles