Baba Ram Dass

Baba Ram Dass (Richard Alpert) Author and Spiritual Teacher
April 6, 1941, Boston, Massachusetts.
(Source, LMR from Alpert’’s autobiography, “”The Only Dance There Is”)

(Ascendant Cancer with Pluto conjunct the Ascendant and rising; MC in Pisces; Sun conjunct Uranus, both in Aries and both conjunct the NN, also in Aries; Moon is Sagittarius conjunct Vertex also in Sagittarius; Venus in Pisces conjunct the Part of Fortune; Mercury in Taurus; Mars in Leo; Jupiter in Cancer; Saturn in Capricorn, H7; Neptune in Virgo)

Richard Alpert, also known as Baba Ram Dass was one of the more popular educators, authors and teachers of spirituality during the latter part of the twentieth century. He was academically trained at various universities in the United States and became a professor of psychology at Harvard University. There, he and his friend Timothy Leary were involved in psychological experiments with hallucinogens, for which both lost their positions.

Alpert and Leary continued their experimentation with psychedelics but eventually ended their partnership. Alpert travelled to India where he met a guru who influenced him deeply. He took a new name, Ram Dass, which means “servant of God” in Hindi. From his new life-perspective he began to see the use of psychedelic drugs as superficial and discontinued such experimentation. As his knowledge of Eastern and Western spirituality deepened, and as his books were published, Ram Dass, himself, became a kind of ‘guru’ to those in the West who sought a deeper meaning in life.

A Summary of Points to Bear in Mind when Interpreting the Astrological Chart of Richard Alpert/Baba Ram Dass

a.       From the nature of his writing and teaching it is clear that Ram Dass is a soul focussed on the second ray of Love-Wisdom. His writings radiate the wisdom of the East and he speaks for deeper understanding, tolerance, service and virtues which emerge from a realization of oneness.

b.       The major distributor for the second ray in his chart is the opposition between Neptune (planet of the “Solar Flames”, in second ray Virgo) and sometime second ray Venus in the sign of its exaltation, second ray Pisces. Pisces and Virgo also distribute the sixth ray, contributing to his reputation for activism.

c.       The Venus Neptune opposition confers great sensitivity and compassion and would be a strong conduit for second ray soul energies.

d.       The second ray planet Jupiter is in the sign of its exaltation, Cancer and in the twelfth house resonant with second ray/sixth ray Pisces. While Jupiter is not rising in the conventional sense, it is fairly close to the Ascendant and as the “soul ray planet” is powerful.

e.       Jupiter is in a reasonable trine aspect with Venus, emphasizing soul consciousness. Venus is placed in a Jupiterian sign (Pisces) and in a Jupiterian house, the ninth. This aspect contributes to Ram Dass’ exploration in the realms of higher consciousness.

f.        Two planets of the heart, Jupiter in Cancer and Neptune in Virgo are in a fairly close septile aspect, uniting them in a ‘fated’ relationship.

g.       Clearly, Ram Dass is well equipped to represent the second ray of Love-Wisdom

h.       As his Sun is in Aries, there are probably strong elements of both the fourth and sixth rays in his personality demonstration. Sixth ray Mars (placed if first ray/fifth ray Leo), is the exoteric ruler of Aries and fourth ray Mercury (placed in fourth ray Taurus) is the esoteric ruler.

i.         Judging from his activism and his devotion to his guru and to the cause of enlightenment, the sixth ray is a reasonable choice for the personality ray, but it cannot be conclusively stated to be so as there are many fourth ray elements also present.

j.         Significantly, the Sun is conjunct revolutionary, experimental Uranus, contributing to Alpert’s early rebellion against conventionality (especially in matters of consciousness). He defied Harvard’s policy with respect to drug experimentation, and became a spokesperson for the transformation of consciousness.

k.       Aries is the sign of pioneering and Uranus the planet of the “new and better way”. Thus Richard Alpert/Ram Dass emerged as a leading pioneer in first the American and later the global “Consciousness Movement”. As these two planets are placed in his tenth house, this type of pioneering work became his real profession. Someone less spiritually attuned could simply have used a lower vibration of Uranus and continued with orthodox psychological experimentation. It is likely that there is quite a bit of the fifth ray in the mental body of Ram Dass. At least, it appears that that vehicle was initially focussed on the fifth ray.

l.         As spiritual progress continued and as the buddhic plane was accessed through Neptune (the esoteric rulers of the Cancer Ascendant), there would naturally be more opportunity for the fourth ray to enter the concrete mind. We note that Mercury (a planet associated with both the concrete mind and the buddhi/intuitive mind, as well as the abstract mind) is in the fourth ray sign Taurus.

m.     The Ascendant is Cancer, in Ram Dass’ case, ruled not only by the exoteric Moon (in adventurous Sagittarius) but by transcendental Neptune in Virgo in the third house. The Moon position, considered exoterically, gave him an early taste for fast cars and, in general, speed. The exoteric interpretation of Cancer leads to attachment (even attachment to the past as evidence in his early love of antiques). But the Sagittarian Moon was also present in the case of Einstein and other adventurers in consciousness and the mind. It can be read as a spiritual position, giving an innate inclination for spiritual quests—earlier interpreted in terms of psychedelic “trips”.

n.       The Moon, in this case, will be veiling transcendental Neptune or experimental Uranus, and maybe both on various occasions. It is in a kind of grand trine with Mars and Juno, and by “translation of light” the Sun/Uranus conjunction is involved. All this conferred fire and enthusiasm in Ram Dass’ pursuits—and first secular and later sacred. We do see the Sagittarian Moon very “low” by declination (the planet most “out of bounds”, i.e., beyond the highest or lowest point in declination reached by the Sun). This makes the Moon powerful and, therefore, a focus for transmutation.

o.       The “Lunar Lords” are ruled by Sagittarius and Mars. When, in an advanced soul, the Moon is placed in Sagittarius, the possibility of harnessing the Lunar Lords to the life of aspiration is very great. In the case of Ram Dass, the elevation of these energies is a strong possibility. Issues concerning the second initiation are involved in such dynamics. The revelations for which he has been responsible, however, concern more the consciousness of the third initiation.

p.       The Cancer Ascendant blended with the second ray soul is, of course, vitally important, providing a strong streak of nurturance. This has been demonstrated in Ram Dass’ attitude as a teacher (his book, “How Can I Help”, 1985) and in practical living through his nurturing care of his ailing father. Cancer is a major protective and protecting energy, especially when combined with the second ray. Neptune is usually considered a sixth ray planet, and Virgo is a sixth ray sign, so a powerful sixth ray is thereby indicated. However, on a higher turn of the spiral, Neptune is, monadically, a second ray planet and Virgo the most powerful constellational distributor of the second ray at this time. So we see that given the position of Neptune in Virgo, the second ray soul potentials have an excellent instrument of expression.

q.       The placement of Neptune in the third house is important, because the third house represents the lower mind, and Neptune, access to the intuitive plane, fourth ray buddhi. In the charts of those of small mentality, Neptune in the third can simply indicate confused perception and vague mental expression. But Ram Dass’ mentality is high (in both Western and Eastern terms) and so it is likely than much buddhic-intuition energy expresses even through his concrete thoughts and statements.

r.        Virgo is usually associated with the gestation of the “Christ Consciousness”. Alpert is, perhaps, more Hindu or Buddhist by practice and persuasion (though certainly very capable of realizing the meaning of the Christ Consciousness and its relation to states of awareness promoted in the classical Hindu and Buddhist literature. When looking at some of the deeper results of his work, we can see it as the stimulation of soul-consciousness (i.e., Christ Consciousness) within many spiritual seekers in the West.

s.       The obvious stream of nurturance which runs through his life demonstration is furthered by the presence of the nurturing asteroid Ceres in Libra, the sign of peace and right human relationships, placed in the fourth house of home and parenting. Through this influence there is indicated a capacity to bring peace and harmony to the lunar realm of personality.

t.        But, clearly there were also struggles, as a powerful T-Square between the Cancer Ascendant, Saturn at the cusp of the seventh house in Capricorn, and the Sun/Uranus conjunction in Aries (as the short leg of the T-Square). It is clear that Ram Dass (presumably in his earlier days) was possessed of considerable “ego”, self-assurance, the sense of “being right”. Mars in Leo can confer personality authority and egoism and the Moon in Sagittarius, impatience with slow movement. He would have had the tendency to get carried away with his enthusiasms, moving forward without being considerate. But Cancer and Capricorn call for quite different virtues. Cancer is sensitive and receptive and Saturn in Capricorn at the seventh would give a ready tendency towards cool abstraction in relationship—a ready detachment (akin to a monkish approach).

u.       This T-Square would be hard to reconcile. Perhaps Saturnian detachment would enter and check the urgent, inspired enthusiasms of Sun/Uranus in Aries, tempering them, so that the greater sensitivity of the Cancer Ascendant can emerge.

v.       Saturn in Capricorn seems reflective of earlier incarnations of detachment. It is reported that Ram Dass has struggled with issues of sexuality, alternating between celibacy (Saturn in Capricorn at the seventh) and bi-sexuality (encouraged by Sun conjunct Uranus—planet of rebellion against the conventional, and Juno in Aries {heated by the Leo Mars and Sagittarius Moon}, inclining one to plunge into relationship). Ascendant, Pluto and Mars are all within a few degrees parallel to each other (by declination), and so a powerful complex of sexual energies is presented, but one, as well, which holds deep transformative possibilities. Surely Ram Dass knows what is to be done with the sexual energy in terms of the elevation of consciousness. Pluto rising at the Ascendant can lead one deeply into those energies, but also lead to their transmutation and elevation—their consecration to higher purposes.

w.     The “fixed stars” tell an interesting story, but one would want to be very certain of the birth time before association these factors (generally given an orb of only a degree or so) with any of the “angles” of the chart. The Sun is closely parallel Bellatrix which gives an outspoken nature and also, according to Brady, “confrontation with the shadow”—in this case, his own (as the shadows of spiritual teachers are usually considerable) and that of others. Mercury parallels Denebola, called the “Changer”, giving changes which are out of step with present social trends.

This we can certainly see. Jupiter, the planet of expanding consciousness, is closely parallel to Hamal, star of strength, independence and even aggression. We can read it as forcefulness in the field of consciousness. Uranus is parallel the star Procyon—rapid action and short-lived opportunities. Added to Aries this would give a vision of possibilities and a tendency to act quickly on them. Gains, however would not abide. The MC is conjunct the star, Scheat (considered by some unfortunate) but related to free-thinkers and those who dare to think the impossible. Again this is a very suitable placement.

x.       Thus far, a reasonable working hypothesis for Ram Dass’ rays is:

i.            Soul ray: second

ii.            Personality ray: six sub four or four sub six

iii.            Mental ray: five with a growing four

iv.            Astral ray: six with growing second

v.            Physical Etheric Ray: closer personal contact would be required to determine this. Aries often inclines towards the third ray through its activism. But all three signs holding the seventh ray are powerful and active (Aries, Cancer and Capricorn), and so the seventh ray cannot be dismissed.

y.       It is always difficult to speculate about the monadic ray (which is the primary ray). Most people are not in much position to express it, and only a Master can really be sure. But Ram Dass’ revelations do pertain to monadic realization (at least in part). It is the task of the initiate of the third degree (and those who are aspiring to the third degree) to reveal oneness. This he has done, thus indicating the influence of the monad somewhat significant.

z.       The Monadic Point is found opposite the Sun-sign, Aries, thus in Libra. Libra has its third ray side, but, probably, a more advanced second ray side. Ram Dass message seems very buddhic. Really it is a function of buddhi-manas. He has transcended lower manas, per se. He is interested in the infusion of manas with buddhi, as his writings demonstrate.

aa.   The Libra position of the Monadic Point (the heliocentric position of Earth) is capable of expressing either the third ray or the second. Inherently, there is plenty of intelligence evident in Ram Dass’ life. It would seem that the deeper emphasis at this time is the expression of Love-Wisdom, or (in terms of Libra), “Divine Love” and “Understanding” (EA 333).

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