Ken Keyes: Modern Guru
I first saw Ken Keyes at a regional meeting of the Association for Humanistic Psychology, and was impressed by the warmth he radiated. He was in a wheelchair, but still managed to project strength and reassurance and to handle a leadership role with quiet confidence. He has continued to be a leader in humanistic and transpersonal psychology, conducting workshops and lecturing around the country, as well as writing inspirational articles and books and directing his “Living Love” centers; in Berkeley, California, then in Kentucky, and now in Coos Bay, Oregon.
Ken was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 19, 1921 at 1:45 A.M. CST. If my memory is accurate, he started with a business career, in real estate. His ability to handle the material world is shown in the horoscope by the Capricorn Sun in a grand earth trine with the Taurus Moon and Saturn in its own tenth house in Virgo. Jupiter, widely conjunct Saturn in the same sign and house, offers further evidence of his capacity to be realistic, productive and successful in his work.
A grand trine in water signs and houses, even involving water factors Pluto and the north node of the Moon so two corners of the grand trine are triple water, points to sensitivity, depth of feeling, openness to intuition, and a capacity to nurture others. Water symbolizes the unconscious side of the mind. When emphasized in a chart, the individual may be dependent, nurturing, or both. When supported by earth and fire, the individual is likely to prefer to nurture others and may be uncomfortable with personal dependency. I sometimes suspect that illness or accidents which lead to some kind of forced dependency (as exemplified by Ken’s wheelchair) may be the means by which the unconscious gets the dependency needs met in an individual who has tried to play “Atlas” and superparent to the world and has had trouble accepting from others. A grand water trine shows a deep faith at the unconscious level that the world will take care of us if we need it and let it. If the individual is too identified with being the responsible, capable person who carries the load so the dependency side of the nature is denied, the unconscious can produce a situation which forces the acceptance of help from others. We can avoid letting things reach that extreme by allowing smaller amounts of dependency.
The possibility that some of Ken’s growth would come through his work or his health is suggested by Pluto, ruler of the Ascendant, in an opposition to the Antivertex which is like an auxiliary Ascendant. Also, Vesta, our Virgo asteroid, is square the Ascendant and in an octile-trioctile to Antivertex-Pluto. The south node of the Moon in the sixth house in a trioctile to Jupiter, ruler of the first house, is another hint. “Letters” one and six are both keys to health; letter one because it symbolizes our ability to do what we please and incapacity of course hampers that, and letter six because it symbolizes efficient functioning in both our jobs and our bodies.
We can see that Ken is strongly identified with water in addition to some fire and earth. Mars, natural key to self-expression, is in Pisces in the Cancer house while Pluto, ruler of the Scorpio Ascendant is in Cancer in its own Scorpio house. There is also Sagittarius in the first house of identity with the East Point, like another Ascendant, in that sign. Jupiter, ruler of Sagittarius, is in an earth house, sign, and widely conjunct an earth planet. When both Sagittarius and Pisces are keys to identity, it is like having God as a personal role model. The individual may feel that he ought to be perfect and do everything right, or he may feel he “is” God and has a right to everything he wants. It is this sort of principle which can manifest in seemingly opposite forms of behavior that makes astrology so hard for many people to handle. Even most astrologers still think they should be able to specify the details of a person’s life. But the chart only gives us the principles which can manifest in many different ways, depending on our choices. Ken has clearly manifested the personal idealism through playing a savior role; healing, inspiring, helping many hundreds of people who have taken his seminars in “living love”. The placement of Chiron (which is like Jupiter) in Aries is another key to the personal identification with the Absolute.
In Ken’s small but profound “Handbook to Higher Consciousness,” originally published in 1973, Ken describes an addiction as “any desire that gets you uptight or makes you unhappy if it is not satisfied.” p.28 He adds that what we emotionally avoid is just as much an addiction as what we desire. Both can keep us unhappy a good bit of our time. Ken suggests replacing addictions (automatic, uncontrollable emotional responses) with preferences. We can still enjoy whatever we enjoy, but not be unhappy when we do not have it, spoil the pleasure by fearing we might lose what we are enjoying, or wishing it were better, bigger, came easier, sooner, etc. Of course, Ken is putting into modern, western language what Buddha said 2500 years ago: desire is the source of pain. But sometimes we hear that and think we must give up any preference or pleasure to avoid pain. Ken makes it clear that all we have to give up is the programmed, (automatic, out-of-control) overly intense reactions to desires and threats.
It is certainly fitting that Ken has his nodes in Taurus-Scorpio across the houses of work and faith. His teaching has centered on helping people deal with their struggles to master the appetites (desires, pleasures) and to learn how to share love, power, and pleasure with others; the key issues of the Taurus-Scorpio polarity. The importance of these issues in his own nature is further emphasized by his Scorpio rising with Pluto in its own house. As most readers know, placement of a ruler of the first house (or any other form of “letter one” such as Mars or Aries) in the seventh or eighth house tends to be experienced as personal power connected to and usually vulnerable to the power of others. The six ways of handling the issue include giving the power to others and remaining helpless; trying to keep all the power; retreating and avoiding closeness and vulnerability; learning to share the power and pleasure; competing in healthy, game-playing ways; and helping others. Ken has clearly chosen to help others, but, partly through his own physical disability, has also learned to share the power and to let others also help him. The power issue in the chart is further emphasized by a ruler of the first house (Jupiter) in the tenth house with its natural ruler, Saturn—a combination that often leads to the “Atlas” tendency—while his Mars is in Pisces in the fourth house where he must face the helpless potential of his nature. His life suggests that he has handled the basic issues well.