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Frequently Pondered Topics in Astrology
Astrology? Can We Take it
Knowing our sun sign doesn't tell us exactly who we are or how we'll behave, but it is a central factor when considered along with the rest of the planetary positions at one's birth, in relation to one's inherited patterns and early environment. A person often does express his or her sun sign traits quite remarkably, but sometimes a person's upbringing has not encouraged the expression of his or her solar energy. In this case, it remains more of a potential serving as a guide to how one should best express oneself in the world if one is to be an empowered and effective individual.
As well, irrefutable evidence connects certain human traits with planetary positions. French statistician Michel Gauquelin working in the sixties, established hard statistical evidence that the planets Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and the Moon correspond to particular personality traits just as the ancients had claimed; Mars with athletes, Saturn with scientists, Jupiter with actors and politicians, and the Moon with writers. Gauquelin, selecting those persons at the very top of their profession as best embodying the traits associated with that particular field, found that a statistically significant number had the 'appropriate' planet rising in the Eastern sky or culminating around the zenith position. These planetary locations happen to be the traditionally significant angles of the astrological birth chart.
Gauquelin's work has been replicated many times and is not in dispute, though many scientists like to ignore it or downplay its significance.
But actually, the very demand for astrologers to justify their practice scientifically is beside the point. What serious astrologers are doing in their practice falls outside the parameters of objective science in the same way that humanistic and depth psychology, counseling and therapy lie outside of science. Yet these fields are of the greatest importance and are no less meaningful, rational, and valid than science itself, for they deal with the most important and foundational area of reality - the nature, meaning, and higher possibilities of human experience and values.
Since astrological symbols do not reveal objective facts, but rather reveal underlying meanings and patterns that must be understood holistically, not mechanistically, attempts to prove psychological astrology scientifically must inevitably fail.
Nevertheless, there is still overwhelming evidence that astrologers have repeatedly performed in rigorously controlled tests far beyond chance levels, matching people and charts. Certain scientific experts knowledgeable in astrology, yet no less tough minded, have acknowledged that the premise of astrology has indeed been established and that "astrologers work" but insist that this still does not prove that astrology works, since the astrologers' results, they say, could be due to intuition or ESP. But, hold on a minute, if ESP were true, then wouldn't that call into question, as much as if astrology were true, the prevailing objective and mechanistic paradigm or world view of the last several hundred years?
Since the 16th century, we have come through the mathematically ordered Newtonian and mechanistic world that was tidily presided over by a deist God (must have been a Virgo!). Then, in the 19th century we entered a meaningless void of material particles and fields which somehow produced order out of chaos through the "miracle" of random chance and Darwinian natural selection. Now, while most of us agree that the magical and animistic world of the ancients was largely a human construction, there is an ever increasing consensus that even our more modern views are only different ways of perceiving reality -- not Reality itself.
The implications of this new awareness are enormous. The evidence and information coming to us from quantum physics, new biology, transpersonal and depth psychology, parapsychology, new understandings of ancient Eastern and Western mystical traditions -- all demand a more inclusive and coherent view, a "new paradigm" that promises to reconnect the individual with the cosmos, to reunite mind and matter and to reveal a universe known not solely through reason and the senses but as well through intuition, imagination, love, meditation and prayer. It is within such a world view that astrology makes sense and provides us with a key to self-understanding.
The pathology of the world, or of the individual, is not so much a malfunctioning of the 'normal mode' as it is a failure to grow, an inability to realize hidden potentials and open to the evolutionary impulse within each of us. These potentials are not the property of an especially gifted few. Each of us is capable of more honesty, caring, self inquiry, personal responsibility and growing self understanding. Such self awareness or self knowledge is not belly button gazing, nor is it simply self analysis or an endless bookkeeping of one's traits. This process is about knowing myself as a part of a greater whole, as an active co-creator of an ongoing evolutionary flowering in which I am called to an honesty and deep self awareness, both of the possibilities of my unique path and the ways that my journey may interconnect with the whole human community and all of life.
To live in such an ongoing state of growing mindfulness and responsibility we need all the help we can get. Astrology is a tool, a map of the self's nature and possibilities, that some people find useful for such a cosmic and relational self knowledge.
For example, in a person's birth chart, Mars, the planet of self assertion, strength, anger, and sometimes aggression, may be next to (conjunct) Saturn, the planet of form and structure, which includes parental rules, regulations and restrictions. Perhaps due to excessive parental strictness, restrictiveness or properness, this child may have been prevented from free and forceful self assertion. Consequently, anger and rage may have turned inward so that as an adult s/he became unable to healthily express anger and stand up for him or herself. Although full of resentment and possibly suffering bouts of depression and feelings of powerlessness, this person will nevertheless be a strong and hard worker (a Saturn trait), possibly a workaholic. Note that someone else subject to a similar treatment may neither have this response nor this person's capacity for directed will and achievement.
By learning to more freely express strong emotions and anger, this person's natural potential for patience, intense focus, self discipline, and persistence in the face of obstacles will be able to flower. Mars/Saturn, a symbol of childhood expression thwarted by parental restriction can later come to symbolize an adult strength and courage joined with responsible self discipline and masterful accomplishment.
Yet, newer than modern, it is a new paradigm idea that we come to realize and express who we are most deeply by attuning and opening to something larger than ourselves, by discerning our place within a larger and meaningful cosmic pattern.
In dialogue with the client who seeks to make more sense of his or her life, psychological astrology, with its deciphering of the symbols of the birth chart (plus transits etc.), is not limited to the individual seeking to understand him or herself. It also includes the area of synastry, how as individuals we come together and create a relationship, a common purpose and an opportunity for growth beyond who we are as distinct individuals.
The "new paradigm" of relationship and partnership concerns the meeting of equal and self responsible 'persons' whose love for each other is expressed as the commitment to one another's personal growth and flowering. Rather than the traditional arena defined by stifling social expectations, gender roles, unconscious and romantically idealized projections, self-centered passions, and emotional dependencies, a new and potentially more satisfying and workable 'partnership game' is being called for. Here, relationship becomes the mutually agreed on context or field within which the individuals feel free to open up, to reveal, to unfold, without demanding the other take on or 'solve' their problems. Very much individuals, yet individuals very much in relationship -- not isolated egos using relationship for their own ends or going off and doing their own thing.
The psychological and spiritual challenge is enormous as we attempt to come together, to know and affirm each other as loving equals without many of the guiding rules, definitions and expectations of tradition and convention, especially since we need to preserve what is valuable in the old as we forge new and more deeply workable modes of responsible commitment. When two people meet within this new value perspective with the mutual intention of honesty, sharing, communication, equality, caring and non-dominance, compatibility factors become secondary -- though human chemistry is always at play. Rather than looking to astrology as an answer to the immense challenges of partnership in the contemporary world, it is from an ever deepening awareness of the larger picture that we need to approach this useful self knowledge and relationship tool.
When we go to a doctor, we don't say, "Tell me where it hurts Doc," yet such magical knowledge is often what we expect from the astrologer when we go for a natal chart reading. This is completely understandable given the divinatory history of astrology and its trivialization by the popular media. But this tends to miss the most powerful use of astrology ~ namely, its potential as a tool for a deeper understanding of what is so for the person rather than as a crystal ball for guessing what is so. This interpretative approach may not prove astrology, but it certainly puts it to better use.
In the space of a single chart reading, the astrologer is doing a double duty, demonstrating the paranormal power of astrology by saying some significant things s/he could not have otherwise known, while at the same time, offering useful insights into the client's life and character in response to the client's sharing. Often we come away from a chart reading session feeling confirmed and comfortable in who we are, feeling connected to something larger, something cosmic and meaningful. In our age of increasing fragmentation and alienation it is significant to find evidence of such an inner sense of pattern, meaning and belonging. What we have here is more than just a quasi-religious sense of oneness ~ it is a realization that one can, through astrology, be deeply known in one's inner being, in one's true uniqueness and individuality.
Along with this realization, psychological astrology can offer us objectivity and increasing empowerment and control over our life path and life patterns. Although one-time consultations are quite popular, many people return periodically to an astrological consultant to examine certain of their life issues in more depth or to explore the deeper meanings and potentialities of what might be happening in their lives right now using the current transits and progressions.
For example, if your Sun (or Ascendant) is in Sagittarius indicating a positive, expansive and spontaneously expressive personality, yet the planet Saturn is conjunct (next to) the Sun, then you will be more serious, focused, or introverted than the average Sagittarian, yet the questing, philosophical, and idealistic qualities should still be evident, albeit applied in a more practical and committed way. Or, if you have Jupiter conjunct your Capricorn Sun, you will be more outgoing, expressive, positive and idealistic than the average Capricorn who is more serious, earthy, ambitious and hard working. And if you're a pushy Piscean, now you know that you might have Mars conjunct your Sun.
In my chart, all the three main components -- the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant -- have major outer planets in conjunction with them; namely, Uranus on the Ascendant, Saturn on the Moon, and Pluto and Jupiter on the Sun. These planets are most strongly evident in my character and significantly modify the natural expressions of Leo and Gemini. Yet anyone who knows me well will still recognize how I embody the essential meanings of Leo and Gemini. Remember that it's the meanings underlying the common traits associated with the signs that we need to understand.
Although there is statistical evidence linking certain astrological factors with career, so far no significant correlation of Sun sign and particular profession has been discovered. Nevertheless, certain jobs and careers afford better opportunities than others for the expression of particular Sun sign qualities. That is, you will get to express your nature and be encouraged to develop that important part of you more effectively by choosing a path that resonates to your particular Sun sign.
For example, Aries needs a great deal of freedom for independent action, initiative and decision making. Careers emphasizing team work, cooperation, or diplomacy will not be a first choice, unless a Libra Moon or Acendant draws one to such a choice -- but then there should be opportunity within that field for vigorous self assertion and initiative. Geminis will do best in careers requiring verbal and communication skills, the written word, perhaps the telephone, journalism and the media. But the moving around of information or goods in any form is linked to Gemini, so jobs in transportation or careers requiring manual dexterity (also a Geminian trait) will be ideal for the less cerebral and more practical or physical Geminis.