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Marlena Applebaum

M.A. in Counseling Psychology

Astrological Counseling

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April 12, 2017

Astrology as illustrative and reflective, rather than causative

 

 

I love this quote from Chris Brennan’s new book on Hellenistic astrology: 

 

“Despite the formulaic nature of astrological omens, the astrologers themselves did not necessarily think that there was a direct causal connection between celestial and earthly events. Instead, the celestial omens acted as signs or indications of the future that were sent by the gods, and not as causes of the events that they correlated with. The stars in particular were seen as a sort of ‘heavenly writing’ that was inscribed across the sky. Naturally, as Rochberg points out, ‘the notion of the stars as a heavenly script implies their capacity to be read and interpreted.’ Thus in the earliest Babylonian strata of astrological tradition, astrology was seen to be a type of language.” 

 

This supports what I often say, that the planets do not cause things to happen, rather they merely reflect one’s karma. The birth chart is an illustration of one’s sanskaras for a given lifetime, and there are various techniques to look more closely at a specific timeframe within the lifetime... We are drawn to astrology to gain insight, understanding, and acceptance of the complexity of circumstances we find ourselves in and the attributes we came in with, as well as the inner and outer events and developments that unfold over time. 

 

It appears that some ancient astrologers placed great value on endeavoring towards acceptance of life as it is and developing forbearance, equanimity, and contentment regardless of circumstances (as revealed by, not caused by one’s astrology). The Vettius Valens (c.175 CE) quote at the beginning of Chris’s book is incredible: “Those who engage in the prediction of the future and the truth, having acquired a soul that is free and not enslaved, do not think highly of fortune, and do not devote themselves to hope, nor are they afraid of death, but instead they live their lives undaunted by disturbance by training their souls to be confident, and neither rejoice excessively in the case of good, nor become depressed in the case of bad, but instead are content with whatever is present. Those who do not desire the impossible are capable of bearing that which is preordained through their own self-mastery; and being estranged from all pleasure or praise, they become established as soldiers of fate”

 

This strikes me as counter to the modern concept of “manifesting” one’s desires and dreams. I resonate with Valens and appreciate the realism and dignity of his words. I am still certainly a proponent of trying one’s best to improve one’s self or one’s lot whenever possible, as that may also be part of the path, but striving for equanimity and acceptance if or when certain things seem unchangeable is just as worthwhile.


September 29, 2013

Happiness Series featuring my articles

September 23, 2014

Pluto turns direct

 

 

Last night Pluto turned direct after being retrograde since Apr 14th. When a planet prepares to change directions (or more accurately, its apparent motion from our perspective on Earth), it gradually and increasingly slows down first, comes to a full stop, and then slowly begins to move in the opposite direction. If the planet changes directions at a degree of the zodiac that aspects your chart, the experience of that aspect will be prolonged and intensified. In the case of Pluto, the slowest moving planetary archetype that we study in astrology, this means that if you have any significant planets or points in your chart at or close to 11º Capricorn or 11º of the other Cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, or Libra), you will be feeling this Pluto station especially strongly during all of Aug, Sept, and Oct 2014. 

 

So what does an intense Pluto aspect feel like? Well, Pluto is the god of the “underworld.” If you have been “abducted,” like Persephone was by Hades, you will be feeling it — maybe only symbolically or internally but possibly more literally, depending on what is needed for your personal growth. Read more...


March 14, 2015

An Eclectic Approach ~ Modern and Ancient Astrology

 

 

There are countless ways to practice astrology and within Western astrology alone there are a huge variety of systems, paradigms, and techniques from which to choose. Throughout the years of my own study and practice I have found that it serves me to remain open to all the different paradigms that I encounter, while also remaining focused and not overly diffused with too many different techniques at once. My biggest learning is always through direct observation, so when it comes to where I put my attention within the wide variety of approaches, my eclectic approach is based on personal experience of the usefulness and relevance of a particular concept or system. 

 

When I began studying and practicing astrology, I was mostly exposed to Modern Astrology and Evolutionary Astrology. This is mainly what is out there nowadays, has many merits, and no doubt still forms the foundation of my understanding of astrology. As time went on, however, I began to encounter more Ancient or Traditional Astrology and I found these frameworks to be equally valuable. For instance, I certainly honor the modern practice of paying close attention to the outer planets (Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, as well as Chiron), as I and many people and clients I know experience monumental internal or external events in our lives that correspond with the transits from these planets. The Uranus/Pluto square from 2012 to 2015 is a palpable example of this, being unfathomably intense for many especially those whose charts were directly lined up with the degrees of this life-changing, era-defining square (By the way, the last exact pass of this square is on March 16th, 2015). 

 

On the other hand, I found that shifting to the Whole Sign house system (the oldest house system known); using the antiquated classification of planets in dignity, exaltation, detriment, or fall; and looking to the ancient rulers vs. the modern rulers, for example — are all undeniably useful to me when I analyze a chart. I didn’t necessarily want to adopt these older techniques, especially ones that appear on the surface to imply a value judgement, but when I investigated them I couldn’t help but notice their definite relevance. Through contemplation I realized that instead of seeing a planet that is in detriment or fall as a “bad” placement, for instance, the classification is rather a tool to acknowledge when an aspect of one’s self or one’s life (as symbolized by the planet) is experienced as inherently more challenging or uncomfortable than other planets that are more “favorably” placed. These challenges are of course not “bad,” just as squares and oppositions (aspects known to be associated with more challenges) are not “bad,” but a planet in detriment, for example, may represent a part of one’s life where one undergoes more suffering and requires more work or adjustment. I view this type of inner work or challenge as part of the divine intelligence within all of Reality, reflected perfectly in the birth chart, and for the purpose of learning and spiritual growth for the individual. 

 

This is a good segue to the last example I will mention, regarding what I resonate with from Evolutionary Astrology. Evolutionary Astrology suggests that the birth chart is a reflection of what is needed for the soul for spiritual growth in this lifetime. My view is that the birth chart is a perfect illustration of one’s karma (the results of past impressions and actions) in this lifetime. The birth chart is literally a blueprint for how one is fulfilling one’s spiritual purpose and direction in this incarnation. Yet it is an illustration made up of symbols and full of moving parts, not a black and white, simplistic, or static depiction. Therefore it requires on-going exploration and can manifest in a multitude of ways, which will also invariably change over time as a person’s consciousness expands. I am always delighted to learn how people are living their charts. it is always more perfect then I could have imagined by looking at the chart alone. 


January 29, 2012

The Sabian Symbols

 

 

The Sabian Symbols are 360 symbolic vignettes each corresponding to a degree of the zodiac. Many astrologers use them in chart interpretation to get a richer sense of meaning for any important planet or point in a chart, such as the Sun, Moon, or Ascendant. For instance, when I was born, the Sun was at 5º41’ Leo. The corresponding Sabian for my Sun is:  

 

Leo 6*: A sweet old-fashioned belle, and a pert and attractive modern flapper, stand in mutual envy of each other. 

 

From the time I was a child and my mother told me this was the symbol for my Sun, it always resonated deeply. As I got older and came to understand my chart as a whole, I began to see how not only did it capture the essence of my core (the Sun), but interestingly it also captured other prominent themes in my chart, such as my Libra Ascendent (balancing opposites, seeing the other side of the story, and a focus on aesthetics etc), my Sun conjunct Saturn (Saturn represents tradition, and therefore is “old-fashioned”) and my Sun/Saturn square Uranus (Uranus represents breaking free from old structures, and therefore fits “a modern flapper.” In some mystical way, the specific Sabian symbol for the degree of my Leo Sun acts as a holon** for my whole chart. Not everyone resonates as obviously and spontaneously with their Sabians; sometimes it takes some contemplation to penetrate into the meaning of the symbol. Read more...


December 31, 2014

Divine intelligence behind it all

 

 

To have astrological knowledge does not confer the ability to avoid challenges or lessons that must be learned in life. From the ego perspective challenges or unpleasant situations are always unwanted, but from a spiritual perspective the trials and tribulations in life are often exactly what is necessary to create the learning or shifts in consciousness that are required for the soul. Although attempting to live in sync with the rhythms of planetary influences is certainly beneficial, it is not only undesirable to try to avoid or prevent life lessons from happening or to try to control life through careful study or adherence to astrological interpretations, but it is impossible to do so. Life and learning cannot be avoided or stopped. Experiences will happen, suffering may happen, and learning and growth never ends. What astrology can offer is insight into the perfection of it all. By seeing and understanding the planetary correlations and synchronicities, astrology can contribute to one’s peace, patience, acceptance, endurance, hope, and trust in the divine intelligence behind it all.  


November 10, 2011

Full Moon in Taurus ♉, Neptune and Chiron turn direct

 

 

The Full Moon is the climax of the lunar month and a time to observe with objectivity what is coming to light or to a head. At every Full Moon there is an opposition between the Sun and the Moon, and this polarization and tension of the opposites may be felt within oneself or within one’s relationships and circumstances. When the Full Moon is in Taurus, the Sun is in Scorpio: on the one hand, there is a need to let go of the past in order to allow the necessary transformation of the self (Sun in Scorpio) — but on the other hand, there is a valid emotional longing for stability and security (Moon in Taurus), for instance…Read more...


April 22, 2014

AstroPsychology

 

 

Wonderful intro to AstroPsychology by Glenn Perry (he articulates so well something I’ve often tried to explain - that the birth chart is not fixed, but rather it reflects and embodies our ongoing evolution):

“The traditional way of interpreting charts is to focus on character delineations and fated events, treating both as relatively fixed outcomes. Conversely, a psychological approach views the horoscope as an evolving story that reflects a process of growth over time. Character and events are still delineated, but no longer in terms of fixed outcomes; rather, events are interpreted as vehicles for facilitating a process of characterological development. Read more...


August 28, 2011

A New Moon in Virgo ♍ tonight

 

 

There is a New Moon in Virgo tonight at 11:04p EDT, representing first the end of one cycle... And then the beginning of a fresh new one. 

 

The Sabian symbol for this new beginning is: “Children’s voices and the smiles of elders; it is a merry go round with blatant music and unrestrained joyousness.”

 

The Virgo archetype represents necessary, honest, and critical analysis — of self first and foremost, and then directing that precise vision outward — for the purpose of improving the capacity to be of service... How do we embrace the current Virgo energy of work and service along with the potent New Moon symbol of “unrestrained joyousness?” On the surface the two themes may appear in stark contrast. Yet, as The Course in Miracles states, “To give and to receive are one in truth.” Read more...


September 28, 2014

Unraveling the mysteries

 

 

In my experience, the deepest and most meaningful learning about astrology comes from experiential observation and involvement. Book learning is essential of course, but for instance, to truly understand the intensity of a transit from a slow moving planet to your birth chart, living through it or watching someone close to you live through it, is entirely different than reading about it. The theory you studied suddenly becomes tangible and is clearly manifesting before your eyes, and yet at the same time it is infinitely more complex and varied in its expression than you could have imagined. The same goes for truly understanding another human being, let alone yourself. It is a lifetime study. As an astrological counselor, I can study a natal chart for hours and hours, days, and weeks, but it would still take time to truly and comprehensively know the native (the owner of the chart). I may be able to quickly speculate about trends in character, predispositions, challenges, gifts, themes of the past and future, and various timelines of various archetypal influences affecting the individual, etc. And all of this can be immensely helpful for people in terms of inspiring self-understanding, self-permission to be who one is, as well as to give encouragement, patience, and strength with one’s life situation. Read more...


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