When most people think of Astrology, they think of star sign columns in newspapers and magazines. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. An accurate birth chart contains within it, the entire blueprint of the person, business or country that it represents. Yes! Astrology can be applied to more than new born babies!
But how does it work? There are many ways to answer this ageless question, and the level of satisfaction provided by each of these answers will differ person to person. For some, and certainly in ancient times, the answer is magic.
Astrology was and still is seen by many as a ‘divine science’ that allows us to understand and read the mystical language of God! In ancient times the ability to read this divine language was reserved strictly for the Astrologer-Priests of the time and only for the King or Pharaoh.
For other people, the ‘how’ of Astrology is a more quantum affair – where every individual part is interlinked with and impacts the whole. Still others find it very easy to accept through their own observation that the moon affects the tides and plants here on Earth, and by extension the notion that other planets might exert an influence of their own upon us – whether that’s through electromagnetic energy or something more new age such as morphic resonance depends on the mental nature of the person asking the question. Fittingly, an accurate birth chart would enable an Astrologer to know which answer would appeal to whom!
But where does it come from? And how can your time of birth have any impact on your character or the nature and timing of events in your life?
To understand this, it is helpful to look back into the history of humanity and the role of this ancient practice throughout.
Astrology is perhaps the oldest science in the world. It’s origin and history trace back thousands and thousands of years to our early Neanderthal ancestors who, whilst different from the other animals, were nonetheless deadlocked in the struggle for survival with them.
Due to the absence of strength and speed, they were forced to use their superior mental capacity to begin to understand themselves and their environment in order to exist. Archaeological evidence shows the marking the lunar phases on animal bones to help with the planning of hunts for times when there would be more available light.
This led to an understanding to the passing of time – a critical leap in human consciousness – and an understanding of the year – a repetitious cycle of seasons that signalled when to migrate, when to gather berries and fruits for the cold months, and as this concept took root gave birth to more stable agrarian communities.
From here Astrology evolved into more sophisticated forms, illuminating the leaders of powerful countries via the priesthoods whose job it was to interpret the heavens and as such, God’s will. Detailed records were kept of the correlations between the stars and events here on Earth, and it was the role of these Astrologer-Priests to advise the most auspicious times to plant crops, invade other countries and predict events that would impact the king or kingdoms. Often under pain of death!
At this time Astronomy – the study of the movement of the heavens and Astrology the interpretation of it’s meaning and impact relative to us on Earth, were one and the same. Movement or form was not divorced from meaning and function. The cosmos was seen an interconnected living ecosystem, where each part was impacting and impacted by everything else.And so it is that the science and art of Astrology was handed down to us over millennia through the most powerful dynasties of humankind – Babylon, Egypt, Greece, Rome, India and China to name just a few. For every one of these great civilisations, Astrology was central to their culture and their understanding of the meaning of life. But of what use can such an antiquated body of knowledge be to us here in the modern world of the 21st Century? A time when science has sent men into the far reaches of space and split the atom itself? In this time of time of ecological and spiritual crisis, Astrology is more relevant and potent than ever. As Carl Jung himself stated:
“Astrology is assured of recognition from psychology, without further restrictions, because astrology represents the summation of all the psychological knowledge of antiquity”
According to Astrological thought, you are the physical embodiment of a particular moment in time. The time, date and place of your birth are the unique coordinates of a living map that can be used throughout your entire life for guidance and self-understanding, providing unparalleled insight into your relationships and life purpose, as well as highlighting personal strengths, shadows, and talents. It has been referred to as the Golden key that can shine a light on your greatest gifts and challenges, providing context for the dynamics that play out in your life and relationships.
In my work as a healer, I have found the most powerful use for Astrology is in self-knowledge and ultimately self-acceptance. Astrology allows otherwise subconscious aspects of yourself to become more conscious, helping us move from entrenched reaction to conscious response. Becoming conscious of a particular behaviour pattern or discovering it’s origin can facilitate a dramatic change in our lives. We are no longer driven by unconscious impulses to act out in certain ways. When recognise that a certain dynamic is at play, that moment of recognition creates a small gap in which we can choose consciously how to respond. These moments of choice are the pivots that can change the trajectory of our lives.
Another potent gift of Astrology is that it allows what would otherwise be a purely subjective experience of life, to become more objective.
When we are able to view ourselves and our lives from a distance we gain a different perspective on things. From this new vantage point, we are able to see things more clearly and from multiple angles in order to comprehend how certain dynamics connect to and impact other parts of our lives. Objectivity allows us to discuss deeply personal and sometimes painful experiences or unresolved feelings in a manner that feels less traumatic. We can see ourselves almost like a character in a story and discuss the struggles and issues that are playing out and give words to feelings that might have stayed locked inside for a lifetime. This is a profoundly healing process.
On an interpersonal level, Astrology allows us to understand the dynamics existing between two people. This is known as Synastry in Astrology and in the context of relationships – whether between lovers, parents and their children, or other family members – provides deep and profound insight into the nature of both connection and conflict. This is achieved by understanding the way different archetypes (planets and signs in Astrological parlance) are operating within each individual and how compatible they are with each other. The way we communicate, what we need to feel valued and loved, how much importance we place on sex, money or status can all be discerned from the charts of both people and related and compared. This insight has the power to transform our perspective from a ‘right or wrong’ mentality and into an ‘equally valid but different’ understanding. How many years would we need to live with another person to really understand each other in such ways – and that assumes that effective communication is taking place! But what about fate versus free will, and character versus destiny I hear some of you ask? The answers to these curly questions will have to wait for future articles!
First published in EQUILIBRIUM.