Tools to Change Society
Ise Shrine on Winter Solstice
1. How were you drawn into Astrology?
I was a dreaming girl, a bookworm in my childhood, who was interested in supernatural/paranormal things, but never had an idea that I could work as a "professional" in those fields. I liked writing poems and hoped I could be a poet someday. But this dream has not come true (just yet!). :)
The turning point came to me when I was 30, I was introduced to a professional astrologer at an astrology lecture organized by my elder friends. The astrologer was looking for someone to help her work with women's magazines for monthly/biweekly horoscopes. She found out I was somewhat "talented" in writing and hired me as her assistant (= ghostwriter).
I was happy with her offer but didn't know anything about astrology. So I decided to learn it. One day, I found the name of Phoenix Noah in a leaflet posted into our mailbox with the newspaper. I could not believe my eyes because he had been my "hero" since my teens as a well-known astrologer/prophet. Great synchronicity indeed! Soon I started learning astrology under him. I "graduated" from his class 5 years later, yet he has still been my astrology guru ever since.
2. How were you first exposed to Jungian Psychology?
By the book written by Mr. Hayao Kawai, the pioneer of Jungian Psychology in Japan, when I was a high school student. I was impressed by the mysterious structure of our unconscious. I had not known Freud's theory then, however, I believe it was certainly a right choice to be drawn to Jung's first!
In my late 20's, I got the chance to learn under Ms. Satoko Akiyama, who was also a great forerunner of Jungian Psychology in Japan. She taught me Jung's occult sides, including I-Ching, Astrology, Tarot and Spiritualism.
Summer Solstice at Futamigaura
3. What is the relationship between Jungian Psychology and Astrology?
Those two resemble one another a lot. I call astrology "psychology dressed in mysticism". I believe Jung himself did a careful study of astrology and put some of its ideas into his psychology.
*extrovert/introvert (j) male/female (a)
(please note: no intention to state female as inferior)
*extrovert (j) cardinal (a)
*introvert (j) fixed (a)
*extrovert with others, introvert to oneself (j) mutable(a)
*thinking (j) air (a)
*emotion (j) water (a)
*intuition (j) fire (a)
*sensation (j) earth (a)
*Great Mother (j) Moon (a)
*Old Wise Man (j) Saturn (a)
*Anima (j) Venus (a)
*Animus (j) Mars (a)
*Shadow (j) opposite sign to one's sun/moon/ascendant etc. on his/her horoscope, or his/her inferior element. It depends on each horoscope. (a)
*Trickster (j) Mercury (a)
and finally, Astrology itself (a) as well.
4. Famed Astronomer/Cosmologist Carl Sagan bemoaned the fact that there are thousands of daily astrology columns in the world’s newspapers, but none on astronomy. Please comment.
It is human nature that we want be able to predict the future. So did our ancestors, for hundreds of years. Even if forecasts
come out wrong, we won't stop reading those columns. Let me quote Johannes Kepler's words from the 17th Century.
"Astronomy is a wise mom, astrology is a foolish daughter.
But who feeds both of them?
The daughter, by selling her body as a whore."
5. What do you feel are the mythic and mystic meanings of the March 11, 2011 Tohoku Earthquake?
I was terribly shocked by the earthquake/tsunami on 3.11. I knew some natural disaster might happen this yea but I had not expected it would have been this destructive. To be honest, it almost made me give up my career as an astrologer. Luckily, I have managed to get out of the black hole!
For the mythic/mystic sides of the disaster, please refer to what I wrote just after the earthfquake, titled "The Rage of Amaterasu". http://tinyurl.com/3nsq4ul
6. Who is Amaterasu and what is her meaning in Japanese mythology?
Amaterasu is the Japanese Sun Goddess, said to be the ancestor of the Imperial Family. She is regarded as the highest deity of the Land of the Risng Sun, however, there exist several deities before her, known as "3 Big-Bang Deities", Ameno-Minakanushi, Takami-Musubi, and Kami-Musubi. And the couple Izanagi and Izanami, who bore Japan by their sexual intercourse.
We often say we have 8,000,000 deities in Japan. No one has ever counted or named each of them, though! Shinto is certainly pantheism, but not exactly a religion. It's quite an animistic way of living to get along with Nature. Our deities rarely have particular images/figures/icons, such as sculptures or statues. (As compared to those of popular Buddhist images, especially in Japan, this is quite notable.)
A shinto god or goddess is an essence/spirit itself lodged in a tree, a rock, a mountain, a river, sea, wind, forests, thunderstorm and so on, in other words, everything is god and god is everything.
7. What does Amaterasu mean to Japanese today? How would a non-Japanese relate to her? Why?
Not only Amaterasu but also other deities in Japan (and other cultures), have 2 characters, one merciful and the other furious. To be precise, 4 characters in one deity in Shinto:
*Kushi-mitama (mystic power)
I think Japan has been facing Amaterasu's Aramitama since the power shift in Sept. 2009 as I wrote in "The Rage of Amaterasu." http://tinyurl.com/3nsq4ul If a non-Japanese person would like to relate to her, that would be a figure of a pantheistic goddess.
8. Your blog mentions the “spiritual evolution of mankind in 2012.” Will that be different from any other year? Why do you think so?
I think it doesn't have to be 2012. In my opinion, the spiritual evolution has already started way back in the late 1960's - the early 1970's, when the idea of the Aquarian Age began to spread worldwide. So, any year would be our "final stage", of course in a positive way. Please refer to my essay "Web 2.0 = The Age of Aquarius" (in Japanese). http://tinyurl.com/3j2vxx4
9. Various mystical traditions, including Astrology and Tarot, have proven effective for millennia, but effective at what? What is their impact on the individual and society?
Effective on both spiritual and physical lives because we are mystical beings ourselves. Tarot is a useful tool to invoke our unconsciousness. In that point of view, astrology might not need a background of astronomy, if we take it as a symbolic tool like Tarot. I think one's horoscope is nothing but a Mandala!
For the last 2,000 years, we've been trying to hear Heaven's Voice. It's our turn to speak to Heaven in this Age of Aquarius.
10. Some people want to treat Astology and Tarot as if they are magic or witchcraft, while many Jungians will attribute their power to their effectiveness in constellating subconscious archetypes. Please comment.
I'm pretty sure that magic and witchcraft are also effective like astrology and tarot. Those people may be trapped in their religious way of thinking or "a religion called science."
11. Joseph Campbell, the world famous mythologist, often referred to gods and goddesses as metaphors. What did he mean? What is their value to us today?
As a Japanese, I was raised in a pantheistic society/culture. I feel the end of monotheism is approaching. We have to be more tolerent to other religions or beliefs. Terror in the name of "God" must not happen any more. The Pantheistic way of thinking will provoke our collective unconscious to make the world a better place.
12. To the extent that you are comfortable in doing so, please tell us how your work with Astrology and Jungian Psychology has helped you through the physical challenges you have faced in life.
I experienced lots of synchronicity during that period (please refer to "My Story" http://tinyurl.com/3otw285). If I had not known Jungian Psychology, I would have regarded them as mere coincidence. It also taught me that I had been trying to ignore my Shadow for a long time, and that was one of the main causes to bring about the illness.
Astrology has given me another birthday. I was originally born as a Gemini in May. Now I celebrate my 2nd birthday, too, in November every year as a Sagittarius after leaving the hospital. My 2nd horoscope is titled "Keiko Reborn".:)
Keiko Nishiyama (Twitter: @jazzykeiko) is a Jungian Psychology grounded Astrologer and writer, who practices Astrology in Yokohama, Japan for clients throughout the world. Website: http://kfirebird.jimdo.com/
[Editor's note on Buddhist images, mentioned in response 6 above: While Buddhism is practiced widely in Japan, its origins are Indian. Buddhism, per se, does not encourage images of deities, as Buddhists do not believe in a God. The sculptures one sees at Buddhist temples and shrines, particularly in Japan and China, are either images of "The Buddha" himself, or famous practitioners of Buddhism like Avalokitesvara the Bodhisattva (enlightened being) of Compassion, meditating as an example of what one should do to reach "enlightenment", or "gods" or conceptualizations which emerged from native cultures in the regions where Buddhism is practiced, but not from Buddhism itself.]