Rudhyar, Dane (18951985)
Musician, painter, poet, novelist, and one of the most important
voices redirecting astrology in the twentieth century.
Rudhyar was born in Paris, on March 23, 1895. At age 12 a severe
illness and surgery disabled him and he turned to music
and intellectual development to compensate for his lack of
physical agility. He studied at the Sorbonne, University of Paris
(graduating at age 16) and at the Paris Conservatoire. His early
ventures into philosophy and association with the artistic community
in Paris led to his conviction that all existence is cyclical
His music led him to New York in 1916, where he composed
some of the first polytonal music performed in the United
States. He also met Sasaki Roshi, one of the early Japanese Zen
teachers in America, who led him in the study of Oriental philosophy
and occultism. His interest was further stimulated by
his association with Theosophy, which began when he was
asked to compose music for a production at the societys headquarters
in Los Angeles in 1920. Rudhyar became a naturalized
citizen of the United States in 1926. He stayed in California
(often commuting to New York) through the 1920s and in 1930
married Marla Contento, secretary to independent Theosophist
Will Levington Comfort. Comfort introduced Rudhyar to
Marc Edmund Jones, who in turn introduced him to astrology.
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 overcame some basic problems
of astrology, including its 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. A friend, Alice A. Bailey, encouraged the development
of his thought and published his book.
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.
In 1969 Rudhyar founded the International Committee for
Humanistic Astrology, a small professional society that would
work on the development of his perspective. He began one of
the most fruitful periods of his life, turning out several books
a year for the next decade. He began to absorb the insights of
transpersonal astrology, which concentrated on exploring altered
and exalted states of perception, and by the mid-1970s
had moved beyond humanistic astrology to what he termed
transpersonal astrology. He also began to reflect upon the
New Age movement and wrote several of the more sophisticated
volumes on planetary consciousness and New Age philosophy.
He died September 15, 1985, in California.
Melton, J. Gordon, Jerome Clark, and Aidan A. Kelly. New
Age Encyclopedia. Detroit Gale Research, 1990.
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.
. The Astrology of Transformation A Multilevel Approach.
Wheaton, Ill. Theosophical Publishing House, 1980.
. From Humanistic to Transpersonal Astrology. Palo Alto,
Calif. Seed Center, 1975.
. Occult Preparations for the New Age. Wheaton, Ill.
Theosophical Publishing House, 1975.
Royce, Josiah Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology 5th Ed.
. Person-centered Astrology. Lakemont, Ga. CSA Press,
. The Planetarization of Consciousness. New York Harper,
. Rhythm of Wholeness A Total Affirmation of Being.
Wheaton, Ill. Theosophical Publishing House, 1983.
Rudhyar, Dane (18951985)