Baba Ram Dass (Richard Alpert)
Copyright Michael D. Robbins 2003

Astro-Rayological Interpretation & Charts
Images and Physiognomic Interpretation

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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, Baba 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, Baba 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 Baba 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 Baba 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, Baba 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/Baba 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 Baba 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 Baba 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 Baba 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 Baba 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 Baba 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 Baba 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 Baba 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 Baba 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 Baba 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 Baba 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 Baba 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. Baba 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 Baba 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).




Be open to all teachers And all teachings, And listen with your heart.
(Venus in Pisces in 9th house sextile Mercury.)

People do not know what the Name of God can do. Those who repeat it constantly alone know its power. It can purify our mind completely... The Name can take us to the summit of spiritual experience.
(Mercury in Taurus.)

Place yourself as an instrument in the hands of God, who does his own work in his own way.

Be patient. The path of self-discipline that leads to God-realization is not an easy path: obstacles and sufferings are on the path; the latter you must bear, and the former overcome -- all by His help. His help comes only through concentration. Repetition of God's name helps concentration.
(Saturn in Capricorn conjunct Descendant opposition Pluto in Cancer.)

We have to take the whole universe as the expression of the one Self. Then only our love flows to all beings and creatures in the world equally.
(Jupiter conjunct Ascendant square Nodes.)

Just as a flower gives out its fragrance to whomsoever approaches our uses it, so love from within us radiates towards everybody and manifests as spontaneous service.

All spiritual disciplines are done with a view to still the mind. The perfectly still mind is universal spirit.
(Venus in Pisces in 9th house opposition Neptune in 3rd house. Neptune trine Mercury.)

Only that in you which is me can hear what I'm saying.

The quieter you become the more you can hear.

If you think you're free, there's no escape possible.
(Sun conjunct Uranus.)

Caring is a reflex... You live, you help.
(Cancer Ascendant. Venus in Pisces. Jupiter in Cancer. Neptune in Virgo in 2nd house.)


Baba Ram Dass at the Hanuman Temple in Taos, New Mexico, September 2004Dr. Richard Alpert (born April 6, 1931), later known as Baba Ram Dass, was a professor of psychology at Harvard University who became well known for his controversial research program which studied the effects of LSD. He later converted to Hinduism and is currently one of the most prominent American Hindus. He was born to a prominent Jewish family in Boston, Massachusetts. His father, George Alpert, was one of Boston's most prominent lawyers and was also a railroad executive. Richard Alpert has two older brothers. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Tufts University, a masters' degree from Wesleyan University and a doctorate degree from Stanford University.

Alpert worked closely with Dr. Timothy Leary at Harvard, where the two conducted many experiments on the effects of LSD. The pair were dismissed from the university in 1963 due to their controversial research on the Harvard Psilocybin Project. They relocated, and continued their experiments at a private mansion in New York (see LSD).

In 1967, Alpert travelled to India, where he became heavily involved in meditative practice and yoga. After meeting and becoming a devotee of Neem Karoli Baba, a Hindu guru in Uttar Pradesh, he changed his name to Baba Ram Dass, meaning servant of God.

Upon his return to the United States, Alpert founded several organizations dedicated to expanding spiritual awareness and promoting spiritual growth. In February 1997, he suffered a stroke which left him with expressive aphasia, but he continues to give lectures at a variety of places.

Richard Alpert (Baba Ram Dass) was born in 1931. His father, George, a lawyer, helped to found Brandeis University and was President of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad. Baba Ram Dass studied psychology, specializing in human motivation and personality development. He received an M.A. from Wesleyan and a Ph.D. from Stanford. He then served on the psychology faculties at Stanford and the University of California, and from 1958 to 1963 taught and researched in the Department of Social Relations and the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. During this period he co-authored (with Sears and Rau) the book Identification and Child Rearing, published by Stanford University Press.

In 1961, while at Harvard, Baba Ram Dass' explorations of human consciousness led him, in collaboration with Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner, Aldous Huxley, Allen Ginsberg, and others, to pursue intensive research with psilocybin, LSD-25, and other psychedelic chemicals. Out of this research came two books:The Psychedelic Experience (co-authored by Leary and Metzner, and based on The Tibetan Book of the Dead, published by University Books); and LSD (with Sidney Cohen and Lawrence Schiller, published by New American Library). Because of the controversial nature of this research, Baba Ram Dass was dismissed from Harvard in 1963.

Baba Ram Dass continued his research under the auspices of a private foundation until 1967. In that year he traveled to India, where he met his Guru (spiritual teacher), Neem Karoli Baba. Baba Ram Dass studied yoga and meditation, and received the name Baba Ram Dass, which means "servant of God." Since 1968, he has pursued a variety of spiritual practices, including guru kripa; devotional yoga focused on the Hindu spiritual figure Hanuman; meditation in the Theravadin, Mahayana Tibetan, and Zen Buddhist schools; karma yoga; and Sufi and Jewish studies.

Alpert continued his research under the auspices of a private foundation until 1967, when he traveled to India. In India, he met his guru, or spiritual teacher, Neem Karoli Baba, affectionately known as Maharaji. Maharaji gave Baba Ram Dass his name, which means "servant of God." Since 1968, Baba Ram Dass has pursued a variety of spiritual methods and practices from various ancient wisdom traditions, including devotional yoga focused on the Hindu spiritual figure Hanuman; meditation in the Theravadin, Mahayana Tibetan and Zen Buddhist schools; karma yoga; and Sufi and Jewish studies. He also practices service to others as a spiritual path.

In 1974, Baba Ram Dass created the Hanuman Foundation, which developed the Prison Ashram Project, designed to help prison inmates grow spiritually during their incarceration, and the Dying Project, conceived as a spiritual support structure for conscious and dying. These projects are now directed under independent auspices. The Baba Ram Dass Tape Library Foundation serves as the organizing vehicle for Baba Ram Dass' teachings, and for the distribution of his books and tapes.

Baba Ram Dass' interests include the support of psychedelic research, international development, environmental awareness and political action. He has written a number of spiritual books including Be Here Now, published in 1971 (over one million copies sold, 37th printing, Crown Publishers); The Only Dance There Is (Anchor/ Doubleday); Grist for the Mill (with Stephen Levine, Celestial Arts); Journey of Awakening (Bantam Books); Miracle of Love: Stories of Neem Karoli Baba (Hanuman Foundation); How Can I Help? (with Paul Gorman, Knopf); Compassion in Action: Setting Out on the Path of Service (with Mirabai Bush, Bell Tower Press) and Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing and Dying (Riverhead Books). His latest book, One-Liners: A Mini-Manual for a Spiritual Life was published by Bell Tower Press in September, 2002. In September, 2004, Harmony will be publishing Baba Ram Dass' next book, entitled Paths to God: Living the Bhagavad Gita.

In 1996, Baba Ram Dass began to develop plans for a talk radio program called “Here and Now with Baba Ram Dass.” Seven pilot programs were aired in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, and Baba Ram Dass planned to launch the show on a nationwide basis the following year. But in February 1997, he experienced a stroke which left him with expressive aphasia and partial paralysis. The after effects of the stroke have made it necessary for him to postpone plans for his radio program, but he has been able to resume his other teaching commitments and is using the experience to explore the spiritual dimensions of suffering and the nature of the aging process.

Baba Ram Dass is a co-founder and advisory board member of the Seva Foundation, an international service organization. He works with the Social Venture Network, an organization of businesses seeking to bring social consciousness to business practices. He continues to teach about the nature of consciousness, and about service as a spiritual path.

Baba Ram Dass, while he has an Eastern name, is much a Westerner. As Richard Alpert, he received his Ph.D in psychology from Stanford University and taught at Harvard, Stanford and the University of California. In the 1960's he was active in research on consciousness with Timothy Leary, Aldous Huxley, Alan Watts and others. In 1967 he continued this study in India, where he was given the name Baba Ram Dass by his guru, Neem Karoli Baba. Since that time, through books, tapes, and lectures and with a rare combination of warmth, candor and humour he has contributed to the integration of Eastern spiritual philosophy into western thought.

Baba Ram Dass has authored a number of books on spiritual topics: "Be Here Now", "The Only Dance There Is", "Grist For The Mill", (with Stephen Levine), "Journey of Awakening", "Miracle of Love", and, most recently, "How Can I Help?", (with Paul Gorman). "Be Here Now" has sold nearly a million copies, and served widely as a spiritual guide during the 1970's. "How Can I Help?", published by Alfred Knopf in 1985, has sold over 150 000 copies and is widely used in medical and nursing schools, schools of social work, volunteer agencies, and hospices.

In 1973 Baba Ram Dass founded the Hanuman Foundation, which has nurtured projects designed to increase spiritual consciousness in the west, including work with prisoners and the dying. Baba Ram Dass is a co-founder, board member and former chairperson of the Seva Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to manifesting compassionate action to alleviate suffering in ther world community. Seva is currently supporting programmes to help reduce blindness in India and Nepal, to restore farm life to impoverished villagers in Guatemala, to assist in primary health care for native Americans and to work with the homeless population in the United States.


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