Most people don’t know what astrology is. They think it’s about how the planets and stars affect us down here on earth and that it’s used for predicting events. Astrology is seen as entertainment for gullible fools, and the way it’s often presented in newspapers, magazines and online just reinforces that view. This is a shame, because astrology can be a powerful tool for self-awareness and personal growth.
So if astrology isn’t about how the planets affect us or about predicting events, what is it about?
Many claim that it’s a science. They point out the correlations that exist between the movement of the planets and the changes in our lives, but as ‘science pedants’ never tire from saying: correlation doesn’t equal cause!
It’s important to acknowledge that we don’t actually know how astrology works. There are correlations that have been observed over hundreds of years, but it’s not that simple.
For example, what does it mean to say that your Mercury is in Taurus? That your mind will work slowly and your thinking will focus on practical matters. Yes, but why? How exactly does the appearance of Mercury in that part of the zodiac ‘make’ your mind work like that?
We can’t prove there’s a connection between the cosmos and an individual person because our experience of these links is subjective. We can only say that there appears to be a correlation. This isn’t good enough if we want to call astrology a science.
I like to see astrology as a form of storytelling that uses archetypal principles to make sense of our experience. This makes it more of an interpretative art form, a method of mythmaking and a technique for self-transformation.
Each person is a universe in miniature – you contain the whole within yourself and life is about manifesting part of that whole – your part. How you do that depends upon the archetypes available to you through your horoscope. It also depends on the level of self-awareness or consciousness you have developed, and how willing you are to take responsibility for your experience.
So a true interpretation of your horoscope would need to take into account the whole context of your life – and that means everything – in other words: the whole universe!
Every choice you make or action you take happens within a vast interconnected web of interactions, most of which you can’t see and don’t know about (and even if you could, you probably wouldn’t understand them).
Your horoscope shows the potential relationship between you and the universe, and how you will interact with your environment to create a meaningful life.
“If one is really able to understand what such an approach to astrology implies, the entire study of astrological charts takes on a new meaning; and much of what is taught today — and has been taught in the past — becomes quite obsolete. It also removes astrology from the field of empirical sciences and integrates it to a kind of philosophy-psychology whose purpose it is to discover the meaning of existence, and of the relationship between man and the universe.” – Dane Rudhyar
Astrology can be seen as a symbolic ‘celestial language’ which helps us to understand the patterns of archetypes as they unfold within each person. Dane Rudhyar calls the horoscope your ‘celestial Name’ because it shows how you relate to the overall harmony of the cosmos. It is your particular song or vibration within life’s symphony.
The whole universe is contained within the chart in a ‘seed pattern’ – the seed which will grow into you. But there’s one very important point to remember:
Individuals always transcend their horoscope.
Nothing in the chart is bad or negative. In the old days they used the word ‘malefic’, which means to cause harm, especially by supernatural means. Needless to say, that’s not a helpful way of looking at things, and it’s not true either. You are not built out of good and evil components, and the world isn’t black and white. This way of looking at the world (and astrology) is a reflection of our current culture with its emphasis on conflict and duality.
The horoscope should be seen holistically, with every part contributing something useful to the whole. Studying your chart and working with the planetary cycles can bring you into greater self-awareness and wholeness, and so bring you into balance and harmony with the cosmos.
Viewed this way, astrology can be seen a spiritual practice.
This post was inspired by an article by Dane Rudhyar: The Spiritual Value of Astrology
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