What is TOTAMS ASTROLOGY (Shamanic Astrology Paradigm™) for anyway?

March 4, 2023 | by Daniel Giamario |

This month I desire to explore the essence of our school’s astrological paradigm and the foundation it stands on. The topics of free will, the philosophy of “intent”, and the larger context of our times that is so often left out. Ultimately, this inquiry leads to Life Purpose and fulfillment of dharma.

The Larger Context

I have often written about the six converging timelines, all happening between 1962 and 2034.

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Something important I have noticed about how many astrologers approach significant events, such as Pluto into Aquarius, Saturn into Pisces, the recent Jupiter-Saturn conjunction etc., is how often this larger context is left out, not known about, or ignored.

Usually, the only thing mentioned are extremely generalized pointers towards the supposed “Age of Aquarius” with various dates and unsound assumptions, most often based on the lack of understanding that astrological ages are about constellations and not the sign that has, confusingly, the same name.

This school is named the Turning of the Ages Mystery School for good reason. The current time frame can only occur at most every 5000-7000 years; at best – and there is good evidence – we find ourselves at the end and beginning of an entire 25,820 year precessional cycle, or even more than that. Without taking this into consideration, most of the interpretations that I encounter are rather mundane, somewhat boring, and almost useless within this larger context. These are not ordinary times!

The Foundation

Without question, this form of astrology would not exist without Dane Rudhyar, the polymath who sourced and founded an approach, first known in the late 60’s as “humanistic astrology” and then becoming “transpersonal astrology”. Rudhyar’s genius was to combine Jung’s archetypal depth psychology, with Theosophy, Sri Aurobindo, and Bahai. He became a father figure for young astrologers in the late 1960’s and 70’s. His contributions were so numerous that I will touch on just two of them here. His astrology was not at all deterministic. And crucially, it emphasized questions of life purpose and spiritual fulfillment. My first astrological teacher, Jane Hoskinson, instructed me to read as many of his books as possible, before looking at anything else. My approach to a chart, even before the “shamanic” and Earth/Sky experiential approach emerged in the 1980’s, has always remained philosophically and spiritually based on this Rudhyarian foundation.

Later on, so many other inspirations and influences have contributed to the paradigm. These can include Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual philosophy and the development of the astrological tradition that emerged after his death, known as astrosophy, with the overall emphasis on the Esoteric Christianity of Western traditions. I can also include a wide variety of indigenous Native American teachers, including in particular, Martin Prechtel. I have also been influenced by writers and teachers on alternative history, anthropology, and archeoastronomy, such as Graham Hancock, Andrew Collins, Robert Schock and Robert Bauvall. Recently, I am loving the work of David Graeber. A full list of influences and teachers can be found on the TOTAMS website under the four branches of the school sections: https://turningoftheages.com/4branches/

The paradigm continues to organically evolve on these and other foundational elements.

Intent and Free Will

Unlike many current forms of astrology, the approach of this astrological paradigm and of the school is to emphasize “intent”. The chart, in most ways, is not some static black and white collection of characteristics, so often identified by “Sun Signs”. In our view, most of the chart is like a set of instructions, as well as being developmental. You come into the life a certain way, not as a blank slate, and with a set of intentions and possibilities.

When considering intent, the etymology from Latin and old French includes such meanings as: a stretching out with a purpose, extending towards something, and thinking with volition. The takeaway for this approach to astrology is that it’s an action with a purpose, and in no way connected to any form of determinism. Most of the astrological chart includes these intentions of the soul.

These considerations lead directly to the topic of free will. C.G. Jung, when asked about free will, said “Free will means to gladly do what you must do”. I have always found that statement to align perfectly with the essence of TOTAMS astrology. In the Christian Bible, a well-known statement is: “Many are called, but few are chosen”. I prefer a modification of that  which I came up with: “Many are called, but only some agree to follow the instructions!” We can freely choose to align with our dharmic instructions, or not. Dane Rudhyar always taught that there was universal intent, i.e. that when a person was born, the Universe (Great Mystery or Creator or many other names can be used)  had an intent or purpose.  The gauntlet was thrown down, and one or more would dedicate themselves to fulfilling that purpose. One of my favorite Rudhyar quotes is: “When you don’t follow your nature, there is a hole in the Universe where you are supposed to be.” 

Free will can be quite the double-edged sword. On one hand, the individual can actually choose to not follow the instructions of their original intent. Most animals cannot make that choice. A cat can only out of instinct be a cat. On the other hand, free will also offers the opportunity and the challenge to fulfill the purpose of your precious life as a spiritual human being. The individual can intend to do it, if they choose to. Our school often uses the word “dharma”, a word used in many different ways in different cultures and traditions. When used by the TOTAMS astrological approach, “dharma” is used to mean the responsibility and duty of your current incarnation as well as what the culture and community are counting on you to be. The Bhagavad-Gita offers a warning about not following your dharma. As quoted in my second book, “Origins of the Shamanic Astrology Paradigm”:

“It is better to do one’s own dharma (duty), however defective it may be, than to follow the dharma of another, however well one may perform it. It is better to die doing one’s own dharma, for to do the dharma of another is fraught with danger. Those who do their own dharma as their nature reveals it, never sin.”

Certainly, one of the most important purposes of the kind of astrology used by the Turning of the Ages Mystery School is to help in uncovering the original intent of life purpose, and then with free will choosing to align with the seasons and cycles of the lifetime to fulfill that intent.

The Primacy of the Individual

Every one of the spiritual teachers that have influenced this work agree that the evolution of consciousness can only happen within the individual. Rudhyar explains:

“The Divine incarnates only in the individual – which overshadows the group. The supreme responsibility always lies with the individual. At that exact moment, in the most definite manner, destiny acts and speaks through the individual”. Additionally he shares: “The birth-chart has to be understood as the archetype or seed-pattern of one’s individuality, and therefore also of one’s destiny, for they are identical”. The following quote of Rudhyar beautifully expresses the purpose of the TOTAMS approach to astrology:

“The human being, within the limits of their natal chart, becomes the manifestation of a transcendent purpose, be it seen as a social, planetary, or divine purpose. The individual, self-consecrated and irreversibly committed to that purpose, becomes an agent of the Divine, of the Eonic Spiritual Reality in which we live, move, and have our human being. Some may call that Reality, God, or Christ, others Buddha. Still others may speak of Great Mother Earth, or the Now, or if their vision is turned to the sky, the Galaxy, in whose immense space we live as fish in the ocean”.


At this great Turning of the Ages, astrology can be much more than an entertaining diversion or spectacle. Its purpose at this time must be able to move beyond the dualistic good/bad, high/low, exalted or detriment thinking of the past. Let’s move beyond “rulerships”. The deterministic and cause and effect  versions of astrology are a relic of scientism and materialism, and always end up  crushing the imagination and the soul, not to speak of eliminating free will, a quality necessary to be a complete and awake human being.   Above all, it is time to move beyond the judgments that still emerge from secular astrology, often due to the patriarchal hijack of Saturn.  All places on the wheel of life are authentic and have validity. TOTAMS stands for diversity in unity. Each and every horoscope contains an exact set of instructions specific to that individual for the unfoldment of their Life’s Purpose and even a map towards their self-realization. 

The Turning of The Ages Mystery School – through astrology, cosmology, spirituality and ceremony – offers tools and techniques for helping find your dharma and Life Purpose and to find your place on the wheel of life. The Great Turning, including the depths of Kali Yuga, can be the greatest opportunity for developing an open heart and discovering the fullness and richness of an awakened human being, the full potential of organic and natural human 1.0 versus the seduction of artificial intelligence, silicon based merging with machines and the metaverse, which represents the greatest descent into materialism, cut off from Spirit and the Divine.

That choice is the ultimate test of our free will.

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