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...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Why Astrology?

Have you ever wondered about God? I use God because it's only three letters; you can use whatever label you choose; Father, the Force, Goddess, Allah and on and on. Jehovah, the choices are unlimited. Regardless of what you choose to call this elusive concept and I say concept because you can't see it, touch it, feel it or hear it, how do you know it's there? The Bible tells you it's there. The Koran tells you it's there. The Kabbalah tells you it's there but none of them can prove it’s there. Each one asks you to take it on faith that it’s there. The scientists can’t prove it or disprove it. Only if you know that the words written in these books are actually the Word of God can you accept them as true.

It’s a rather nebulous way of looking at such an important thing, don’t you think? The Baptist preacher preaches fire and brimstone. The Catholics preach guilt. Every religion has its own way of getting you to believe in God. It’s all very confusing. Faith is more than believing, Faith is actually knowing that God exists. It takes a great leap of faith to have faith; you’re taking it upon yourself to know something that is unknowable. Unless you take a shot at astrology.

What would it mean to you if there was a way to prove that there is a higher intelligence, a God so to speak? What would it be worth to you? For me it was worth my life. Astrology gave me a Faith that I’ve never let go of, even in the worst of times. Especially in the worst of times. Because I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that God exists. How, you ask? Well, let me tell you...

When I was 29 - called in astrology the first “Saturn Return” - my life was in tatters. I’d walked away from being a cop to become a poet, and that’s no exaggeration. My wife and I were divorcing and life was spinning away from me. In the middle of this storm I happened to meet a guy about my age. By coincidence or synchronicity we got together and the basis for a lifetime friendship was created. He was experiencing the same kind of things that I was. Mucho common ground.

Where he was different, though, was that he was an astrologer and he introduced me to the art. He “did my chart” and proceeded to tell me where I had been. Not where I was going. And boy, did he hit some nails right on the head! He described situations in my past, major turning points, that had brought me to where I was that day. If he had predicted my future I would have taken it with a grain of salt. A large grain of salt. Yeah, right, how are you going to prove that? You can’t and he didn’t.

When I realized just how accurate he was with my past, my question, like everyone’s in that situation, was "how could he possibly know those things?" To me it was gibberish, to him it was right there in black and white. When I finally accepted the fact that what I was hearing was real, I asked myself, “so, who put that together?” If the planets, the sun and the moon had the symbolism to indicate what I had done in the past, then someone had to be in charge of creating them! And, gee, who could that possibly be? God, the Force, Allah and Jehovah? Yep, all of them or all One of them. The point was that there was something greater than I, something I could logically put my Faith in. Proven to me by astrology. I had no idea at that time where my new understanding would take me, but when you choose a spiritual path the only thing clear is that nothing is clear. You have to take it on Faith that the road will lead you in the right direction. Faith not belief. Knowing not hoping.

So, for thirty plus years I’ve been following my Path. I began to study astrology way back then, and will continue to study it until the time comes to move on. When I do a reading, I love the light that comes into a person’s eyes when they finally get it. When it shows them that they’re not crazy, that there are real reasons behind the things that happen. And that the choice is always ours whether to turn right or turn left. And it shows them that there is something greater than themselves. How else would this system work? - It's the oldest system in the world - If not to shed Light on our path to spirituality, to growth, to life? Well then, that’s why astrology.