About a year ago, I found out that astrology is much, much more than some silly horoscope that you read in women’s magazines that tells you whether today’s astrological forecast will have you on an adventurous shopping spree with your girlfriends tonight, or alone, taking a hot bubble bath by vanilla-scented candlelight.
Astrology does not have to be the deterministic, fortune-telling discipline that many of us think it is. There is no need to “believe” in astrology. To me, astrology is something to be curious and skeptical about.
Nor does astrology need be compared to absolute science. It is in fact an art — an incredibly rich symbolic language that helps us talk about our subjective, human experience on earth.
Astrology is based on something called a birth chart, which is a snapshot of the sky at the exact time and location of your birth. It has a round shape with all 12 constellations of the Zodiac associated with the signs along its circumference based on the Earth’s revolution around the sun.
And then there are the positions of the planets as they appear from the earth. If the signs represent qualities, the planets represent parts of ourselves, such as our style of being assertive (Mars), our style of loving and relating to others (Venus), how we think (Mercury), how we see the world (the sun) and what makes us feel good (the moon). The planets, then, would be the “whats,” and the signs are the “hows” of our internal make-up.
For example, in my chart, Mercury is in Pisces. Pisces is an intuitive sign. Mercury — the fastest-moving planet in the solar system — is symbolic of the speed of our perceptions and thoughts as they spin around our “ego” — the Sun. Mercury in the sign of Pisces might suggest that I have an intuitive mind. So, what would be the use in beating myself up about not being more rational like my brother? Maybe the wiser choice would be to focus on activities where intuition is valued (probably not engineering) but to also note where it might be a good idea to work on my logical thinking skills (wouldn’t want to be too creative while doing my accounting).
Astrology, then, is a possible route to self-discovery, a way of exploring how we might reconcile our inner conflicts, and how we might make wiser choices so we can suffer less and love more. The beauty is that the interpretive possibilities are endless — and there is always room for skepticism and doubt. Over time, my personal truth and self-perception can evolve and resonate on deeper and vaster levels.
In fact, in Hebrew, the term “birth chart” is translated as an “astrological map” and that seems more appropriate to me than a chart. The “map” suggests endless possibilities for navigating through life in our very human quest to make sense and meaning of ourselves and our surroundings. Just as Judaism is a way of viewing the world and bringing understanding to what we do and why, astrology can add an extra layer of appreciation for life and the way we live it. It might not be for everyone, but if you embrace it, astrology could be the missing piece to making your life just that much more fulfilling. It has certainly done so for me.