Thursday, November 12, 2009

What is Astrology?

In the beginning, when humans began to walk upright and live outside their caves, there were the heavens. Looking up at the night sky, they saw that the same things happened at the same time and then it started all over again. The moon through its phases, the sun up and down every day. Lights in the sky that appeared to be the same every night. But there were other lights, brighter lights that seemed to move across the sky as the days went on. The same kind of events seemed to happen at certain times, relative to those lights in the sky.

The tide came in and moved out. The seasons cycled through their phases and fertility was higher according to the appearance of the moon. As time marched on, humans began to document the lights and the changes they seemed to have brought. There came a time when man assigned names and values to these lights, their movements and their seeming impact on events. Thus, astrology was born, through the ages changing and growing to become the oldest system and art in this world. And we learned, "As above, so below."

Astrology is a study of the cycles of the sun, moon and planets in their orbits. For most of those thousands of years it was used as a predictive thing. Fortunetelling. It was an occult art, occult meaning only "hidden." Like Alchemy, Tarot and the I Ching. No one but the Adepts had any clue about how they worked. In this form, the Bible came down on astrology hard. Not difficult to understand. The astrologers were powerful people and influenced kings. And in modern times, presidents and rulers all over the world.

Many of history's greatest minds were astrologers. Da Vinci, Edison, Carl Jung, Ptolemy, Galileo, Medici, Frances Bacon and Johannes Kepler to name but a few. Organized astrology began in China and Meso-America in the 6th Century, BCE. Confucious used astrology as did the Mayans to plot the activities of their societies. That equates to 8000 years!

In the late 19th century and the early 20th century a man named Dane Rudhyar helped to develop a new kind of astrology, one meant to help man understand himself. In this form, humanistic astrology was born. Not in the sense of traditional humanism often associated with Atheism, but rather a study of the human spirit, soul, mind and body. Rudhyar combined astrology with the nascent art of psychology. A proponent of Abraham Maslow and his theory of self actualization, he assigned new values to the lights in the sky. It was a "Re-formulation of Astrological Concepts and Ideals, in Terms of Contemporary Psychology and Philosophy." (Dane Rudhyar, "Astrology of Personality" 1935).

Humanistic astrology has grown since Rudhyar and his contemporaries first proposed it and computers have aided it immensely. The birth of our technological society has provided the means to document the movement of the heavens and our solar system with incredible detail.

Now, the planets don’t make you do anything. They are simply symbols of cycles and energies that exist in our world, our minds and our bodies. In the old astrology there were malefic and benefics meaning that some planets were considered evil and others considered good. With the new, humanistic astrology, everything is good everywhere and there are no problems in our world. Ah, caught you sleeping, eh?

In astrology today, at the moment of your birth a ‘picture’ of the solar system is taken. It shows where the sun. moon and planets are at that moment. It is like a blueprint of you as an individual, created at the moment of your first breath. It shows potentials in your mind/body/spirit and that nothing is absolute because we all have freedom of choice. If we understand the natures of the planets as symbolizing energies in our world, then we can make better choices and keep something solid under us when times are hard or crazy. “This too shall pass” is a keynote of astrology; we can see when those stressful times may have an ending and we can see what good we can grab onto to help us through. I think the best thing about astrology is that it shows us we’re not crazy and that there is a higher force or intelligence working in our universe. What could be better than that?

So, the birth chart shows our potentials and, as the planets keep moving in their orbits, we can track the timing of the cycles of which I spoke. These are called transits. We can see when Saturn (the teacher, Kronos, time) conjuncts - or seems to occupy the same space- as Venus (beauty, balance, love). During this time we can understand that our attention will be focused on our relationships and the fact that they will change and probably feel difficult for the duration of this ‘transit.’ Knowing that helps us to view those changes in the most positive way and not as a crisis in our lives. We can expect unnecessary relationships to fall away, money to become tight and resources limited. Knowing these things allows us to focus and plan, making the right choices at the right time.

This is a simplistic example of astrological meaning and there are many more ‘cycles’ going on at the same time. The astrologer notes these and interprets them according to astrological principles. By doing this, your awareness heightens, your clarity grows and your understanding comes much faster.

Astrology is also used for medical diagnoses. It highlights physical problems that could develop in your life based upon the nature of your birth chart. It is used as a psychological tool to understand the original state of your mind and therefore your condition and its roots. Astrology is no longer occult, it is an open book in the mainstream of our lives. Of course, many pooh, pooh the art but that is to be expected. Without critics, anything can stagnate and die. Who is there to point out problems without them? So, let us give a hand to critics and then lock them in the storeroom where they can’t bother anyone! Let’s see a show of hands - how many in favor? (67%), against? (1%). That from the critics who escaped. The rest are sleeping and don’t care. We won’t wake them up.

So, in summation, believers in astrology know that they have a great tool to work with. Because astrology enlightens us and shows us evidence of the divine, it will grow and develop as an art, and eventually a science. Well, maybe not a science because the human condition is involved and who knows anything about that? In the words of the great Swami Beyondananda “The world doesn’t need to be changed, it needs to be toilet trained“ And it’s going to take more than a few astrologers who see with clarity to do that. But, astrology can be used as a basis for understanding our world.

Talk to your astrologer, get a handle on your life and start making choices that will benefit you in your future. Understand what’s happening now, where you’ve been and where you should go. Forget the predictions - no one can predict the future. Well, a few prophets have done a fine job but it hasn't helped us at all. Ever heard the term ‘self-fulfilling prophesy?’ That’s where the danger of fortunetelling lies. Think about now, not when and take the direct routes instead of detours...

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