Astrology is a 5000 year old wisdom tradition that teaches us about the nature, purpose and direction of life on Earth. It gives us a set of tools which can be used to know ourselves, to heal, develop and find fulfilment during our earth-bound incarnations. It works because we live in a fractal universe of repeating patterns that can be understood – these patterns operate on mental, emotional, spiritual and physical dimensions.
It is usually stated that astrology developed in the Babylonian and Egyptian empires around 2-3000 years BCE (and independently at same time, or even earlier in India and China). Alexander the Great’s conquests brought the Greeks into contact with these older eastern cultures, and from the 4th century BCE astrology grew to be a respected science in Greece. From there it was imported into Roman culture, and as Rome collapsed the Islamic faith enthusiastically embraced the science of the stars. In Europe astrology entered a dark age until the 12/13th century, when Islamic texts were enthusiastically translated and astrology adopted as a medical tool. In the Renaissance astrology was riding high. By 1500 physicians across Europe were expected to calculate the position of the moon before undertaking medical procedures. Christianity disapproved of course, but only in regard to personal horoscopes and destiny – it was considered ok to use it for medical and other practical purposes, eg weather forecasts!
The development of astronomical observations of the heavens from the 16th century onwards and the rise of rationalism diminished the belief in astrology, but at the start of the 21st century the science of the stars is probably more widespread and popular than ever before. The vogue for sun-sign horoscopes that developed in the mid 20th century has given way to a much broader exploration, with vast numbers of astrologers broadcasting on YouTube. The internet has made astrology accessible to all, with birth charts easy to cast online, and an appreciation growing that daily horoscopes are just skimming the surface – one of the great tools astrology gives us is to know what energies are affecting the subtle emotional, mental, energetic frequencies underlying our experience every day.
Why this surge of astrological interest? Simply put – because it works. Monotheistic religion has been exposed as a control system put in place by the patriarchy, forcing people to obey a Father God. Astrology is one of the tools of the Mother Goddess, and was originally practised in her temples. The Goddess offers personal liberation through knowledge and experience, not salvation gained through faith in an external being. In the 21st century the lies of religion, and inadequacies of materialism, are prompting vast numbers of people to turn to the path of self-discovery, to seek wisdom and deep connection to the planet, spirit and other people. There is no better tool than astrology for anyone called to this path. There are no absolutes in astrology – it is a science but also an art, it requires knowledge but also intuition and interpretation. There is a lot to learn, but even knowledge of the basics can improve our quality of life.
The SUN takes 12 months to traverse the zodiac, beginning its journey at the Spring Equinox. Each month of the astrological year has a distinct energy, which we can tune into within ourselves, in order to explore and develop that aspect of our personality.
The MOON completes this 12 stage journey every month, spending 2.5 days in each sign, from which we can interpret underlying emotional energies affecting us all. A the moon journeys from new to full to dark phases, so do our energy bodies – the Moon influences our emotional and spiritual nature, its position in the birth chart tells us a lot about ‘who we are’ and therefore any horoscope reading simply based on the Sun sign is extremely limited.
MERCURY, VENUS AND MARS in the birth chart give us insight into key personality traits – Mercury is the archetype of communication, Venus of love and beauty, Mars of action. Awareness of their movements through the signs helps us to navigate the subtle energies affecting these areas of our lives.
JUPITER AND SATURN were once regarded as supremely important because of the powerful background energies that affect the whole world at once. Jupiter is seen as the expansive, beneficent energy of the zodiac, while Saturn imposes structure, order and limitation. Jupiter changes sign about every 13 months and Saturn about 3 years. Where they appear in our charts tells us about the presence of these energies in our lives.
URANUS, NEPTUNE, PLUTO were added into the astrological pantheon as they became known, with Uranus (discovered 1763) associated with freedom and revolution, Neptune (1846) with transcendence and mysticism, Pluto with primordial energy, death, rebirth and all that is hidden.
CHIRON, CERES, JUNO, VESTA, PALLAS ATHENA, ERIS are among the newer members of the astrological pantheon. Chiron (1977) is considered the archetype of the wounded healer, its position in our charts shows the shared wound of each generation. Feminine divine presence gets more recognition through these energies: Ceres (1801) was the Roman equivalent of the Greek earth goddess Demeter, like Vesta a sister to Jupiter; Juno (1804), Pallas Athena (1802) are named after Jupiter’s wife and daughter, Eris (2003) the sister of Mars and goddess of discord. Ceres teaches us about our mothering instincts and how to run in harmony with the universal flow; Juno is about soul mates and emotional commitment, marriage and beauty; Vesta a goddess of the hearth, brings focus and dedication; Pallas Athena is a weaver of patterns and gives warrior strength; Eris is an underworld goddess and rules over chaos and discord.
Another female divinity, LILITH is associated with the cosmic void, and is calculated as a position in space between the earth and moon. She is said to relate to the dark side and power of sexuality.
The Sun, Moon and planets journey through the sky from the fire sign Aries through a repeating four step pattern through to water sign Pisces. The pattern is FIRE-EARTH-AIR-WATER. In the first four signs (aries-taurus-gemini-cancer) we explore our individuality, in the next four (leo-virgo-libra-scorpio) we are taken on the journey of relationship, and in the last four (sagittarius-capricorn-aquarius-pisces) the focus shifts to the collective, and our individual place within it.
Emotionally, it is so very useful to know which energy the moon is traversing. Simply put, Fire Moons encourage our enthusiasm, impulsiveness and passions; Earth Moons bring grounding, calm, realism; Air moons are outgoing, social, intellectual and encourage our curiosity; Water Moons are emotional, moody, spiritual and inward pulling.
New Moon is a great time for launching new plans and ideas, because it heralds two weeks of expanding emotional and spiritual energy. At full moon there is an emotional peak, often requiring release in some form, and during waning moon an inward pull calls us to take more rest, more inner time. At dark moon we can purge and renew our energetic fields ready for a new month.
These energies affect us all the time. Becoming conscious of them enables us to navigate the subtle waves – eg to know when it’s good to act, and when good to step back. Consciousness itself is just like the breath, just like the cycle of day and night – there are times of expansion and then of contraction, of light then darkness. Knowing that our experience of life will flow on the same lines helps us to find acceptance. Having an idea through which elemental energies our inner archetypes are channelling into the world can assist to find peace with who we are, with our individuality and the moods we go through. The zodiac opens up awareness of the energies at play in the world, helping to come to peace with our part in the whole, and to make the most of it.
Your Sun is about yourself.
Your Moon is your heart.
Your Rising is how you look.
Your Mercury is the way you think.
Your Venus is how you love.
Your Mars is how you deal with life.
Your Jupiter is your luck.
Your Saturn is how you discipline yourself and your responsibilities.
Your Uranus is how unique you are.
Your Neptune is your imagination.
Your Pluto is your transformation.
Your Chiron is how you heal.
Your Ceres is how you take care of yourself.
Your Pallas is your relationships.
Your Juno is beauty and Influences.
Your Vesta is your potential and your organization.
Your North Node is how you develop in your current life.
Your South Node is how you developed in your past life.
Your Midheaven is your career, how others view you.
Your Lilith is your hidden emotions.