“My evenings are taken up very largely with astrology. I make horoscopic calculations in order to find a clue to the core of psychological truth. Some remarkable things have turned up which will certainly appear incredible to you.”
~Carl Jung in a letter to Sigmund Freud (June 12, 1911)
I offer astrological counseling for psycho-spiritual exploration, understanding, and transformation. Astrology utilized in this way can be a missing key for deep inner work and can shed light on the path towards greater harmony with the natural rhythms and cycles of one’s life journey. My approach to astrology is to share the potentials and opportunities I see while exploring how the symbols and archetypes are manifesting uniquely for each individual. Astrology is a wonderful tool for self-knowledge and a help in times of challenge or transition. It can facilitate tremendous insight and peace, as well as provide timelines for certain archetypal or energetic influences reflected in our lives and inner states of being. Consultations available for birth chart exploration, current influences, relationship dynamics, and timing for important events.
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)
In honor of Libra: the quest for harmony, moving thru conflict & cultivating authentic relationships
Venus is in Libra Sep 14-Oct 8, 2011
The Sun is in Libra Sep 23-Oct 23, 2011
Mercury is in Libra Sep 25-Oct 13, 2011
The Libra archetype, ruled by Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, brings relationships to the forefront like no other sign. The symbol for Libra, the scales, reveals how balance, equality, and harmony between self and other is the essence of this sign. It isn’t that Libra is inherently balanced and harmonious, but those with prominent Libra in their charts, actively seek and work towards peacefulness and beauty in themselves, their relationships, their surroundings, and in their lives in general, because these qualities are truly necessary for their well-being. Of course, it is relationships with other imperfect humans, that tend to be the greatest source of conflict and turmoil. A Libra person (Sun in Libra; Moon in Libra; Libra rising; many planets in the 7th house, Libra’s house; or Venus, Libra’s ruler, conjunct the Sun, Moon, or Ascendant) must find ways, and the courage, to work through conflict in order to arrive at authentic harmony, on an on-going basis, instead of falling into patterns such as avoiding, people-pleasing, or pretending that everything is fine for the sake of maintaining harmony on the surface. Even if you are not a Libra person, everyone has Libra (♎) somewhere in their chart, and this is the area where these matters will be relevant for you. Read more...
I recently had the occasion to review the stages of community-building as outlined by M. Scott Peck in The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace, and it reminded me of some helpful insights we can keep in mind when conflict emerges in relationships. Although this book was written primarily for groups of people trying to work together, I have found that the stages also apply to one-on-one relationships. Also, the stages are not static and once one stage is achieved, the relationship may oscillate along the continuum in our constant process of growth and transformation. It is natural for this to happen as relationships have cycles, tides, and rhythms.
This is the first stage of most relationships when we are nice, polite, and showing our best face. Differences are downplayed and anything that might produce conflict is usually avoided or ignored.
The next stage is when major differences begin to arise and we become unpleasantly surprised and disillusioned with each other. The projections begin to fall away and disappointment sets in as we see the other isn’t fulfilling our fantasy of who we thought they were. This leads to irritation, disagreements, and arguments. A lot of relationships end at this stage unless it is worth it for all involved to hang in there.
If we don’t give up on the relationship at this point, we enter into the unknown. The unconscious expectations of harmony and bliss are slowly and sometimes painfully replaced with a more realistic appraisal of the relationship. We may attempt to change each other, to fit into what we think we want or need, but this fails. Weaknesses and vulnerabilities are revealed, but it doesn’t feel safe. It may feel like a death is occurring.
If there is sufficient openness to let go of preconceived ideas and empty ourselves of ego biases and attachments, the present moment reality of the relationship may be seen and appreciated. Now there is authentic sharing and real intimacy. We are seen for who we are, respected, and held in a safe space. The shift is subtle and quiet, but perceptible. A sense of the sacred and the Divine may be felt within the relationship.
If we choose to go beyond the initial superficial connection by facing the conflict that arises within a relationship, we have the opportunity to heal old wounds that inevitably surface, and this lends strength and resiliency to the bond. The mutual desire and commitment to do the work of going through these archetypal stages of relationship transformation creates a profound regard for one another, trust, and deep communion.
Pluto: the underworld, healing, and true empowerment
Pluto is preparing to turn direct on Fri, 9/16/2011, after 5 months of being retrograde. When a planet slows down to stop and change directions, it is often felt more powerfully because if your chart is being aspected by a more or less stationary planet, you are getting a longer lasting and more intense hit, a slow burn, from it (Pluto is basically in the same spot, 4º53” Capricorn, from 9/12-9/21!). Even if you dont have any planets or points in your chart being stimulated by Pluto at the moment, the core features of the Pluto archetype may still be resonating in you right now because Pluto is stationing direct.
Pluto (known as Hades in Greek mythology, god of the underworld) is symbolic of the dark unconscious places within the psyche. This includes all the painful emotions (grief, rage, shame, etc) that we have ever experienced and then repressed in order to go about our daily lives without falling apart. But those shadows do not go away they simply lie dormant, buried deep within the heart, until something happens in life to trigger one of our old core wounds. And then boom, we explode. Or alternatively we implode, collapse, or dissolve. When this happens, usually we are surprised and caught off guard by our own or anothers reactivity. Read more...
All along Pluto has been waiting and watching. He senses when we may be strong enough to finally face those buried wounds within (possibly showing up as an intense Pluto transit to our natal chart). Perhaps after experiencing a troubling reoccurring pattern, or an addiction, or a painful breakup, etc we decide we want to get to the root, we want to change, we want to heal. Often this means acknowledging that the current situation or conflict is triggering something deeper. If we are brave and willing to dig around, we usually find a hurt little child self abandoned, abused, traumatized in some way, and then possibly dissociated or shut down. As children and as adults we find ways to cope and live through traumas. Weve all had them. Its part of life. But Pluto demands that we integrate those painful scenarios into consciousness so that we are no longer unconsciously controlled by them.
Pluto is about empowerment, but true power means being courageous enough to face the things we are afraid to look at or afraid to admit, own them, feel the feelings connected with them, and ultimately find the real truth of who we are. Often the things that cause us the most pain are based on false conclusions, which we came to in order to explain the trauma. Especially as children we take everything personally and we unconsciously interpret someones failure to be present or loving as our own fault, inadequacy, or lack of importance. This all happens at an unconscious level. Enter Pluto: Pluto shows us that by facing the pain, we also get to recover the truth, which is of our innate worth, lovability, and holiness regardless of whatever we have lived through. Through our healing process we may also rediscover faith in life and in humanity, which we hadnt even realized was lost.
Recently I was reminded of a special tool that works amazingly well at helping to not only uncover the underlying issues that scar the heart, but also to help heal them in the context of relationships. It is called an Imago Dialogue (or Couples Dialogue) and can be done within any important relationship in which you are experiencing conflict feeling distant, unheard, angry, resentful, or hurt, etc.
“Imago theory shows that most conflicts that have a painful ‘charge are only 10% about the present situation and 90% about some past wound that is causing pain now. Imagine if you could truly heal old wounds.” (Tim Atkinson)
The Imago Dialogue is a form of communication that requires active listening, mirroring, validation, and empathy. It may feel tedious to go through the structure of this format (and if you are really angry there is the option of doing it over instant messaging so that you have some space and the emotions dont continue to get out of control with one another). However, If you go through with the process, I can almost guarantee it will have some beneficial results creating insights, understanding, and even lasting healing.
Jupiter retrograde and the Jupiter/Pluto trine - my reply to a clients concern
Recently a client expressed anxiety about Jupiter being retrograde, after having multiple frustrating experiences with the last Mercury retrograde, and asked for further clarification and reassurance from me about this current retrograde planet. This is easy to give as Jupiter retrograde is a completely different story from Mercury retrograde. Mercury rules everyday business and communication, so when it is moving backwards slowing things down, it can be frustrating if day-to-day circumstances in our lives need to move forward quickly. In this particular clients case, Mercury was retrograding back into the part of his chart which has to do with communication and day-to-day business (the 3rd house, Mercurys own house) —meaning he may have experienced a double whammy in terms of miscommunications, problems, and delays regarding everyday decisions and issues. Then Mercury retrograded back into the area of his chart which has to do with resources — financial and otherwise (the 2nd house). This could have corresponded with serious re-thinking about his finances. Perhaps the economy being rather volatile lately added to his stress. Read more...
Although Mercury retrograde can be a pleasant time for some, especially if we are able to go with the flow and take some down time in the more right brain (creative, imaginative, emotional, etc.) realm, it has a troublesome reputation because in fact many people do experience frustrations connected with this transit.
Jupiter retrograde, however, is not usually thought of as a troublesome transit (although in astrology it is true that all manifestations are possible — depending on ones own birth chart, consciousness, choices, and karma, etc.)... Jupiter is the planet of opportunity and bounty even when it is retrograde! During the retrograde period, the opportunities dont go away, but rather we may find ourselves going back and discovering opportunities that didnt come to full fruition the first time around. Also, this is an especially rich Jupiter retrograde as it extends the time period and amplifies the power of the Jupiter/Pluto trine in the sky right now (an active influence from Jun 2011-Jul 2012). This trine can support us in manifesting our intentions in the real world — in practical, tangible ways — since both these planets are in earth signs and currently in a harmonious relationship with one another. It is worth noting however, that Jupiter is in Taurus, the archetype known to be slow, yet reliable; and Pluto is in Capricorn, the archetype known to take things step-by-step and have high standards — so patience and perseverance will be helpful!
Going back to this particular clients chart, Jupiter is retrograding first back through the area of his chart having to do with community, humanitarian concerns, friends, and long-term goals (11th house); and then back into the area of career/public standing (10th house). While it is traveling back, it will pass again over his natal Saturn and oppose his natal Jupiter. The conjunction with Saturn suggests he might revisit some serious issues, discovering new gifts along the way, in his marriage or other significant one-on-one relationships in his life (since Saturn rules his Capricorn 7th house). The opposition with Jupiter suggests he might take another look at something regarding his health or daily routine (since Jupiter rules his Sagittarius 6th house), making positive changes or discovering blessings that he didnt catch before. In general, it may be the perfect time to thoroughly revisit all possibilities and opportunities and gain a refreshed level of confidence connected with the concrete manifestation of his most cherished hopes, dreams, and goals, as well as related to his career and public image in the world (Jupiter retrograde in the 11th and 10th houses)!
I hope this example gives ideas of how to contemplate transiting Jupiter in your own unique chart.
How to decode the birth chart - my reply to a client/readers question
Recently I received a question, referencing my last blog about Jupiter retrograde, which I thought was an excellent question and one that other readers probably have as well. The question was:
“Is there an easy way for you to explain how I can look at my chart and see ‘where you have these degrees of Taurus in your chart (and other planets in early degrees which may be aspected? I never understand that stuff. How do I know if its ‘aspected?”
For people who have not studied astrology, the explanation below may seem complicated, as I have to begin to delve into the technical side of astrology in order to answer the question. For those with an interest however, I hope this will be helpful. Read more...
To begin, look around the circle of your chart and find the glyph for Taurus, which looks like: ♉. The chart is divided into 12 sections, called “houses” and 12 signs of the zodiac. However, unless you are using an equal house system, the signs and houses do not correspond exactly with one another, but rather each sign is usually covering part of 2 houses or each house has part of 2 signs within it. And each sign takes up a space of 30 degrees.
Returning to the example from my last blog, find the beginning of the section showing Taurus (♉) — that is 0º Taurus. There will be lines to count within that section until you get to 30º ♉, which then leads to the next section beginning at 0º ♊ (Gemini), and so forth. You are looking for 0º to 10º of ♉. Look to see in which numbered house (1-12) those degrees of ♉ fall. If you happen to be using a chart that does not number the houses, look for the horizontal line dividing the chart, referred to as the horizon. House 1 is the first section on the left side of the chart, below the horizon line. Then count the sections all the way around the chart. House 12 is the last section on the left side above the horizon line. For the client who asked, those degrees fall within her 11th house — of friends, community, hopes, long-term goals, etc. As Jupiter retrogrades back from 10º to 0º it will pass over her Chiron, the Wounded Healer archetype, at 3º of Taurus (for the second pass on Nov 11, 2011. The first pass when Jupiter was direct was on Jun 22, 2011, and the 3rd pass after Jupiter turns forwards again will be on 2/7/2012). Jupiters contact with Chiron may involve some kind of reminder of a primal wound for this woman, but more importantly an opportunity for further healing of and learning about this sensitive place within herself. Though the aspect happens on exact dates, the influence may be felt generally over the course of the several months that Jupiter travels back and forth over her Chiron...
Jupiter will not be making any other major aspects (Ptolemaic aspects) to other planets in her chart. The way one can tell if important aspects will be made from Jupiters retrograde travel from 10º back to 0º Taurus is by looking at the degrees of all the planets in the chart. If any are from 0º-10º Taurus, Jupiter will conjunct them (as in the case above with Jupiter passing over Chiron at 3º of Taurus). If any are from 0º-10º in other signs, specifically ¼ way around the chart on either side from Taurus, in other fixed signs of Aquarius (♒) and Leo (♌) — that planet would be squared by Jupiter. ⅓ way around the chart from Taurus, in the other earth signs of Capricorn (♑) and Virgo (♍) — that planet would be trined. ½ way around the chart from Taurus in the opposite fixed sign of Scorpio (♏) — that planet would be opposed. If you look at an ephemeris (a calendar of the calculated positions of celestial bodies), you can discover exactly when these aspects will occur...
“The soul seeks wholeness. At the North Node [a point shown in the birth chart] youre meant to expand your range and achieve new understanding and competence. If you entered life as an adventurous narcissist, the greater adventure could be falling in love and starting a family. If you were a monk in a prior life, the noise of the marketplace and the thrill of competition might be calling you now. Moving in the direction of the North Node can get you back on track. Nothing restores purpose and enthusiasm quite as magically as the North Node.” ~Dana Gerhardt
Find out where your North Node ☊ of the Moon is. The sign and house indicate helpful guidance about your growth edge in this life. Find out where your South Node ☋ of the Moon is (It is opposite to the North Node by sign, degree, and house). The sign and house show previously developed strengths, automatic tendencies that draw you backwards, and possibly unfulfilled longings as well. If you dont believe in reincarnation, the South Node also refers to your past in this life, or the genetics/ancestral attributes with which you were born.
“Think of the North Node as the head, and the South Node as the stomach. The stomach has the hunger, but the head has the mouth. So you fulfill the desires of the South Node through the energy of the North Node.” ~Molly Cliborne
It is a privilege to hear a persons story and then to see and understand the inside story from the chart. Permission to be oneself and to follow ones own unique path, as well as compassion for the challenges and insight into potentials - are some of the gifts of astrology
How I love Jane Eyre. The recent film is the best screen version ever! Ive been imagining Janes chart. Clearly a prominent Saturn ♄: hard work, struggle, but also great inner strength and incredible integrity. And Pluto ♇: death and the underworld - as a child she lost her parents, uncle, good friend, and suffered other peoples shadow projections and abuse; yet she possesses power, intensity, and depth.
There are many possibilities for her chart, but heres a good guess: Aries ♈ Sun - at her core Jane is independent, impulsive, passionate, courageous, and has a compelling need for freedom. Scorpio ♏ Moon - she is strong-willed, has a private nature, penetrating glance, and intense emotions smoldering beneath the surface. Virgo ♍ rising - Jane developed her persona to be of service and is abundantly clever, diligent, and skillful. An emphasized 12th house - she is described as ‘obscure and ‘otherworldly. She experiences tremendous denial in the outward world; yet she is also talented with inspired artistic ability. These are a few of the archetypes that Jane Eyre seems to strongly embody. Thoughts?
*By the way, this activity of analyzing literature is very in line with the current transit of Mercury ☿ (analysis) conjunct ☌ Venus ♀ (art)