After reading an excerpt referencing astrology from the book, “How A Master Works” by Ivy Duce, I felt moved to write about my experience with and perspective about astrology. Below is the excerpt and underneath the excerpt is my response.
Ivy Duce had visited Meher Baba in India, and on her way back to America she went to see an astrologer in Delhi. The astrologer had a copy of the Bhrigu Samhita and the Arun Samhita, and read an ancient chart for Mrs. Duces daughter Charmian. The chart covered Charmians life in detail, with one statement for each year up into her eighties.
Ivy Duce wrote about the reading in a letter to Babas sister Mani.
Baba dictated the following to be included in Manis reply to Ivy Duce:
“Baba says that you and Charmy, who have the rare good fortune of being among his close fold and deeply connected with him, are safe in his care, and should not let any astrological pattern affect you or rattle or worry you.
“For although he does not radically change the course of individual karma (of those connected with him), he does alleviate and modify it greatly when he thinks fit, and often hastens the working out of some karma whereby it is unwound in a much shorter time and gotten rid of.
“Whereas we think of time in the measure of years, he knows and sees to the untangling of the karmic maze of many lifetimes.
“You should therefore give no countenance to mantras and astrological indications which might apply to the general man who has not the good fortune of coming into the orbit of a Perfect Masters grace, and the much rarer opportunity of being within the circle of the Avatar.
“He does not mind your being interested in astrology as an interesting subject, but does not want you in the least to be swayed by or involved in it, for your own good.
“Baba says that when he breaks his silence, you will understand everything - all your questions will be answered in that understanding which embraces everything.”
I am intrigued by Meher Baba’s exact words to Ivy Duce about astrology. What does it mean to be interested in astrology but not swayed by or involved in it? To me this means that if one is interested in astrology, one should take it lightly in a sense (not unlike other subjects of study in the world of Maya, or illusion). To not be swayed by it means, for me, to not fall into the trap of making presumptions about myself, life, or others using astrology, but rather to attempt at all times to live in alignment with my highest inner truth. In my experience astrology can help to increase understanding, self-acceptance, and faith in the perfection of the big picture. I don’t use astrology to tell me what something means or to try to figure out what will happen in the future. Instead, I use astrology as a tool for self-discovery. It is an exploration and practice of finding meaning through observation of what is (and what is changes as consciousness changes).
In 1932, Meher Baba stayed at the home of Marc Edmond Jones in Hollywood, for one week. Marc Edmond Jones was the foremost astrologer in the US at that time. It was not long after that Western astrology began to take a sharp turn towards a more psychological orientation. Subsequently, Dane Rudhyar, the father of modern astrology (who also met Meher Baba), came into prominence. Rudhyar wrote, “As I see it, the first and immediate purpose of astrology is not to predict events in terms of statistical probability, but to bring to confused, eager, often distraught persons a message of order, of ‘form,’ of the meaning of individual life and individual struggles in the process of self-actualization.” I love Rudhyars explanation. (Interestingly, in the Awakener Magazine, Filis Frederick wrote, “Dane had cast Baba’s horoscope and seen Him as the great World Teacher of the Age.”)
Some people think of astrology as a form of fortune-telling. For me it is just another psychological tool for understanding oneself and helping one to live more authentically, more at peace, and to find one’s way towards fulfilling one’s greater potentials. I dont think of astrology in fatalistic terms. Each aspect shown in a chart can manifest in an unlimited number of ways, and in accordance with one’s spiritual journey. Perhaps the chart is an illustration of our , but it alone does not determine our future. We affect our future by how we respond to our current circumstances.
I have heard a story, referenced at times, when the topic of astrology arises within the Meher Baba world. It goes something like this: followers of Meher Baba who were interested in astrology found that their lives began to disagree with their charts after coming into the orbit of Meher Baba. This statement confuses me, because it is based on a premise that implies there is only one interpretation of a birth chart and that it remains static over time. In my understanding of astrology that premise represents a misunderstanding of how astrology works. Astrology is a language of symbols, and by definition, the very nature of a symbol means that there is a broad number of meanings and expressions of it. So when someone comes into the orbit of Meher Baba, or any path of spiritual truth, their lives and consciousness will of course change and perhaps rapidly. But because an astrological chart cannot be limited to any one analysis, but rather only suggests influences which may be expressed in different ways at various levels of consciousness, the chart still encompasses these higher possibilities. I would go on to say that any perceived limitations of the accuracy of an astrological chart are more reflective of the person trying to understand or interpret it, but not the chart itself.
I have heard that Meher Baba said astrology is a perfect science, but he also said something along the lines of that it takes a Perfect One to interpret it perfectly. I agree wholeheartedly. Astrology can be thought of as a symbolic language. Having some fluency in this language, I do my best to articulate the symbols and express them in ways that might offer help to people — in a dialoguing process, and reflecting back what they already know within. Astrology can be immensely helpful in naming things, putting puzzle pieces together, and validating experiences. Exploring the multifarious possibilities suggested in a chart can provide clarity and meaning in relation to challenges, and offer glimpses of pathways towards healing and hope. In my experience, astrology is a useful psychlological tool with the potential to enhance self-knowledge and a sense of well-being. It need not be used or seen as an “occult” practice.
“Newspaper reporters would regularly seek interviews with Meher Baba, and sometimes he would consent…
‘But what about astrology?’ the reporter asked. ‘
Everything has something to do with spirituality. It depends on how it is worked out. “ (from LM, p. 2077)