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...
However, to really know a person, in a deep sense, and what it means to have a combination of particular planets in particular signs and houses with particular aspects, it takes time and keen observation. That is why I like working with people for a series of sessions over a period of time. We can go so much deeper into personality, life, or relationship dynamics, all of which the chart will illustrate in perfect fashion. Yet it takes time to unravel those mysteries written in a symbolic language. Like any relationship, it takes time and participation with someone to get to know them beyond the surface appearances or presentation. The same is true in a relationship between a counselor and a client and between an astrologer and a chart.
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...
In modern astrology we try to emphasize the positive psychological benefits of all planetary influences, so we use words like transformation, death and rebirth, and rising anew like the phoenix from its ashes, when speaking of Pluto. We talk about going within into the depths of one’s being and taking an honest look at what is hidden and lurking in the darkness of one’s unconscious. All of that is relevant and true, but sometimes Pluto transits are described that way instead of being described simply as being in hell, faced with cruel circumstances or actual criminals, and only to be released after a long and tortuous nightmare is over. During an intense contact with Pluto, it can truly feel like being in hell and it is possible you will meet some dark characters while there. I want to honor that fully. But in time, like Persephone, we may come to appreciate our time in the underworld. We have learned so much about ourselves and about life from the abyssal voyage. We have probably lost a bit more innocence and naiveté, painful as it is necessary. In Jungian psychology it is said that what is not given a conscious outlet in oneself will be encountered externally in others. By the time we return to the surface where the sun shines, we will not only be wiser and stronger, but we will be more whole, as we integrate our experience of Pluto. That is why Pluto is also associated with hidden treasures, riches, and wealth. We must venture down below in order to discover and take them for ourselves.
I love this quote by Stephen Arroyo regarding “the art of not giving advice.” My thoughts exactly.
“What then, one might ask, does an astrologer do? What is his purpose? What can he legitimately offer people if not specific advice? He can offer his insight, his understanding, and his support; and he can provide, with the help of astrology, clarification, a sense of order and meaning, a possibility of gaining higher awareness, and a sense of the ultimate implications of the present situation. Astrology used in this way provides a means by which people can more effectively deal with their lives by recognizing their participation in cosmic cycles, thus helping them to gain a true perspective on themselves and their dealings with the outer world. A birth-chart is not a static thing that one simply “gets done.” It is rather a map which can help the person along the road of self-discovery and self-realization.”
Wonderful intro to AstroPsychology by Glenn Perry (he articulates so well something Ive 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...
As character evolves, so also does ones narrative of the outer world. As the upgraded, revised story supplants its more limited predecessor, this leads to increasingly satisfying experiences that reflect an evolution of the inner story. In effect, the astrological chart is a kind of living document, or life script, which allows for continuing amendments and revisions. I especially like the word ‘script because it not only conveys the idea of story, but also of a set of instructions that are written down, as in ‘a script to follow. That, in fact, is my thesis: the astrological chart is both a story and a set of instructions for living-that is, for evolving.”
With the practice of astrology you may see a thing coming, but that does not mean you can avoid it. You may note influences and archetypal energies that are active, but regardless of how accurately you interpret meanings for a particular time period, or how much awareness and self-knowledge you have worked to achieve, that does not mean you can eliminate certain lessons that are necessary to expand and deepen your being. So, what can astrology offer? Astrological explorations have the potential to mirror back to you with validation and insight what you are experiencing, and help you make connections between outer and inner events and passages, as well as a larger context of cycles in your personal journey to greater wholeness. This can bring more inner peace, acceptance, and understanding about whatever is happening. Higher intelligence and divine purpose guide the journey. Birth charts, as well as transits, progressions, elections, and the other astrological charts we use — help one gain glimpses of that divine intelligence and purpose.
Hi everyone, thanks for reading my posts! I’ve been taking a break from writing astro blurbs and articles lately, but I haven’t been taking a break from astrology! Life has been great but moving quickly for me. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to focus on my blog again soon! Best wishes!! ♥
Pluto went retrograde on April 10th. Because Pluto moves so slowly, when it is stationing to change directions, it stays in the same degree of the zodiac for weeks to months at a time, creating a powerful force field of Plutonian energy in one spot. If activating one’s natal chart, Pluto stationing can feel as though a hole is being burned through the part of oneself that Pluto is touching. Pluto is the planet that most correlates with depth psychology and integrating the shadow, because Pluto aspects or transits are known to bring to light things that we would rather keep hidden, even from ourselves. Read more...
Pluto, aka Hades, rules the underworld. As in the Greek myth when he abducted Persephone down into the underworld, Pluto transits may feel as though one is being carried off unwillingly to an area of darkness and forced to face a difficulty, while feeling powerless to overcome it. The experience often involves a letting go process of some sort — letting go of control, letting go of what is comfortable and familiar, letting go of a superficial reality — for the purpose of admitting in a deeper inner truth and going beyond old limitations.
“Pluto’s transits are ordinarily concerned with the death and destruction of the old, this destruction being necessary in order to make room for the new… Pluto, by transit, therefore symbolizes the power to release the more enduring from the transitory, whether it be the soul from the body at death or the individual self from the old shell of personality and ego. Transiting Pluto brings to the surface hidden or subliminal conditions in order that this energy can be released from the old shell and transformed into a new source of consciously-usable power.” ~Stephen Arroyo
“I do believe that astrology’s greatest value resides in its insights into human behavior. By ‘insights’ I mean information that reveals to the individual (1) a deeper understanding of his or her basic needs and core beliefs, and (2) the habitual patterns of thinking, feeling, and behavior that derive out of these deep structures. But these insights can be integrated with knowledge of transits & progressions and the various opportunities for growth they provide… Read more...
It seems to me that the real difference between psychological and predictive astrology comes down to the question of why are we here? From a psychological perspective, the answer would seem, to realize more fully our human potential. A strictly predictive astrology, however, implies that one’s fate is more or less fixed and that one’s ultimate good lies in avoiding pain and maximizing pleasure. Whereas psychological astrology assists individuals in discovering how they are creating their own fate, predictive astrology merely describes fate without relating it to the inner, psychological life of the person. From this perspective, events have no meaning beyond being ‘good or ‘bad. To say that they are “karma” from past lives, to be suffered and endured (or perhaps avoided through the cosmically informed counsel of one’s astrologer), does little to help people live more constructively in the here and now. I believe that fate can be positively altered through a process of internal healing and integration. The real meaning of events is that they constitute ‘feedback that reflects back to the individual where s/he is at in terms of health and wholeness. And their real value is that they stimulate growth in precisely those areas where the individual most needs to change.” ~Glenn Perry
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.