On Using Astrology Well
Astrology: A Double-Edged Sword
If you’ve been interested in astrology for a while, you’ll probably know that astrological knowledge can be a double-edged sword! For every occasion when it provides insight and understanding, greater patience with a lengthy developmental process or faith that all things do indeed change eventually, there will be those times when we read something that fills us with dread: we see a transit coming up that looks more than a little problematic or we read about a feature in our natal chart which seems to condemn us to a life of unrelenting misery! At times like these astrology can feel burdensome and demotivating, invoking the very feelings and fears that perhaps prompted us to explore it in the first place. Because I sometimes receive messages from people struggling with a difficult insight into their chart or an astrological post that triggers anxiety, I thought this article might help alleviate some of those stresses!
Astrology as an inner journey
The first thing to remember about astrology is this: It should always point us inward, to the inner voice that speaks truth beyond the egoic self that deals in threat, fear and foreboding. So when we encounter astrological information, be it about current energies, personal transits or factors in our natal chart, we need to discern its resonance with our inner knowing. How does it feel? What emotions does it generate? Do we experience physical sensations as we contemplate its message? Does it trigger thoughts, memories, hopes or fears? Once we’ve observed our reaction to the information, we can begin to discern its place within our own unique set of circumstances. Is it something we need to hear even though we don’t want to? Does it feel ‘right’ and simple to embrace? Is it discordant with our inner knowing: out of step? If so, is it because the information is actually shifting us deeper into a process of change (which can feel uncomfortable at first) or is it simply misaligned with our truth at this time? Developing the capacity to discern in this way can help us use astrology to the fullest and without unnecessary resistance. It shifts us from only ever taking on board information that feels good – rejecting the rest without deeper enquiry – to using astrology as a journey into our very soul.
How astrology can trigger us in difficult ways
If certain astrological information leaves us feeling uncomfortable, there may be a number of things going on. Perhaps it challenges a cherished self-view and we need time to adjust to a new perspective. Or we may have been triggered by a specific element of an interpretation and failed to take account of the information in its entirety, which places it in a wider context. It could be that the information in question doesn’t resonate with us because the astrological factors involved are overridden by something more powerful occurring in our personal astrology. Or what we’ve read may have unearthed fears and anxieties we’ve long sought to avoid when they really need to be addressed. Enquiring into why we feel the way we do about any astrological information is always important, otherwise we can fall into the trap of simply believing what someone says about us (or what we think they’re saying!). Or we may assume our understanding is the final word on the matter. Or we may dismiss anything that doesn’t immediately ‘fit’ with our current experience, when deeper contemplation will reveal its relevance.
Facing that sense of foreboding
You may well know that feeling of seeing an up-coming transit to your natal chart and suspecting it may signify a challenging time. I doubt there’s an astrologer alive who hasn’t received a frantic message from someone who’s just realised Pluto’s about to conjunct their Sun whilst Saturn opposes their Moon, or who’s spotted the up-coming eclipse is right on their ascendant conjunct Uranus! In the early days of my astrological journey I visited that place many times. But in sitting with that fear, embracing it, letting it settle rather than feeding it with despair and anxiety or trying to rush around ‘trauma-proofing’ my life, I always came to a place of acceptance of what is, knowing that however the energies play out they’re always moving, always changing and everything supports us in our awakening if we let it.
These days I keep a very open mind about how transits may or may not manifest in terms of events. Not least because some of the events in my own life have been so inexplicably bizarre that I really do believe anything is possible and we need not restrict those possibilities with our limited human perspective! Rather than fear what we read in the stars, we should celebrate the gift of cosmic wisdom always there for the asking, supporting us on our journey and reminding us nothing lasts for ever, everything changes and all things conspire for greater insight and deeper authenticity if we play our part in the process.
The future is not the present!
Remember, also, that future trends viewed from the present can never be fully known, simply because we are not yet the person we will be at that point. Transits don’t suddenly appear out of the blue, from nowhere. They build over time, as the heavens move inexorably on their way. Every day we are channelling through our being the same energies that move the planets. We don’t exist in a state of stasis until the next major transit comes along! Like waves that gradually build and swell far out at sea, eventually crashing upon the shore before receding again, planetary energies reflect the ebb and flow of energy in our lives which forever prepares us for the next moment and the next. We are always a work in progress, from the moment of our conception to the moment of our death and beyond. As we surrender more fully to this current of change, no longer trying to hold back the tides but instead learning to ride the waves triumphant, we discover the revelation of beauty in sorrow, of wisdom at the heart of despair and the need to capitalise upon grace in the midst of good-fortune. Astrology affirms that life is truly a journey with no ultimate destination. We are in process always, creating the next moment and the next, in concert with the universal energies at our disposal.
Event Prediction: The Holy Grail
Whilst at one level event prediction is the holy grail of astrology, at another it misses the point of what’s really going on. Events are only the surface of the fathomless depths of this mystery called life. And yet it’s most often the surface that we dread, striving to control outcomes, fearing they may undo us in some way. When we use astrology to look beneath the surface we can appreciate the far deeper movement taking place in our life. We can recognise our part in something more mysterious than anything we can call by name. There are all manner of variables we can influence – and others we can’t – that cause a single occurrence. We’re not hapless victims at the mercy of sky gods playing chess with our lives. The heavens provide a map, they don’t condemn us to a path. They reflect the quality of every moment and how it interacts with our own circuitry to produce the experiences of our lives. But every moment is formed of many layers and occurs in many dimensions. What may look like a shocking trauma from one perspective may be a profound awakening from another. Just as what appears as good fortune may become a mind-numbing complacency that eventually undermines our ability to proceed.
To use astrology well we must reach beneath the surface and seek to know the very energy at work in our lives, not just its surface event-based manifestation. We need to understand the choices it presents, the possibilities it unleashes, and the fact that nothing ever happens in isolation. But above all we must remember that this is our life and living is not a spectator sport! Astrology teaches us that nothing happens to a person that is not characteristic of them in some way. Astrological energies do not assail us from outside but rise up from within, clamouring to be heard. We may balk at their message as much as we may welcome it. But if we’re to use astrology well we need to understand how and why we respond as we do and be able to use those reactions to better discern the wisdom at our disposal.