The Inner Sky
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In the 1970s and 1980s, I took lessons from two astrology teachers, Hans Cosman and Jan Bakker. Both were students of the well-known Dutch astrologer Th.J.J. Ram. After his death, both men worked in close collaboration to further disseminate and develop the views passed down to them. With unflagging zeal they gave lectures and classes and trained students in order to pass on the legacy of the ‘school of Ram’ to the next generation. I had the good fortune to belong to that next generation.
Although both had been trained by the same teacher, they did not always approach the subject matter in the same way. Especially during the classes they presented together, these differences would become apparent. By witnessing the very interesting exchanges between them, our minds opened up to multiple approaches for interpreting horoscopes. For choosing between them, we were of course all left to our own devices. This may have given rise to some confusion and insecurity, but also made it clear that there was room for our own assessments and choices. That was an important discovery for me.
Structure and color
These differences in approaching the horoscope were clearly connected with the personalities of both men. During classes, Jan Bakker usually would take the lead by setting up the structural groundwork for the horoscope. He had a systematical and objective way of working which he was able to convey in a transparent manner. In this way, we learned to work methodically and structurally.
During Jan Bakker’s first setup, Hans Cosman would usually be silent. But once that setup had been established, Hans would step in with a colorful palette of characteristics that brought the personality of the owner of that horoscope to life: a human being emerged.
Hans had a unique talent for this; he would really give us a ‘taste’ of the type of person involved. He taught us that every horoscope is new and different, and that no rule or recipe should ever be applied blindly. According to him, the structure of the case in question was crucial for determining the direction the interpretation should take.
One of the questions that would come up in those classes was in which perspective our human lifetime might be viewed.
Jan Bakker always said: “It’s all on your tape already.” In other words: The events have already been prepared for you; they just need to make their appearance in time.
With this view, Jan Bakker sided with traditional astrology, which assumes that everything is already preordained and therefore predictable. Based on Theosophy, he saw people’s circumstances, including the environment in which they were raised, predominantly in the light of the Karma that had been accumulated in previous lifetimes. In his view, circumstances had a modelling and objectifying influence on the developing personality.
His own attitude to life was characterized by a willingness to deal with setbacks without losing his openness and connection to life. In this, he always displayed a wise and calming gentleness.