At the Journal Party with Andrea Schroeder yesterday, we were exploring some great questions about listening to and following what calls us, our private lives and what we share publicly, and the desire for connection and groups with other creative kindreds in real-time.
During the webinar, a participant asked me to address this question: How has astrology enriched your life?
Now, anyone in my most inner circle knows that if you get me talking about astrology these days, I might not stop. I drift into an amalgation of astro-speak + human behavior/motivation + consciousness evolution and personal/collective growth through creative awareness and a connection to divine wonder. *ah* bliss... at least for me. Even if it is a mouth and earful. lol
I've learned to restrain myself a bit... for most people it's just not as infinitely fascinating in such large doses, and the parallels it has to creative process may not be as apparent.
I'm pretty sure my participants in IN THE STARS could attest to my enthusiasm for the curious beauty, depth and infinite possibilities for creative (self) exploration it offers.
In more practical and personal matters, though... how has astrology enriched my life?
Let me start by saying that I took a skeptic's path to astrology. From my teens into my thirties, I was always drawn with curiosity, but highly skeptical. It's kinda my nature to question... everything. But my skepticism was also partially because I am a 'true' cusp, and if you look at my birthday alone, without consulting an ephemeris (a guide to the actual placements of the planetary bodies on certain days), you get my zodiac sign all wrong. So, I spent over half my life thinking I was one sun sign, when actually I am another. So, while I could relate to the wrong sign (which is typical for a cusp) it left some major gaps for me, even in the most basic assessment.
There is also so much unnecessary fear that has been placed around astrology in an unhelpful, fatalistic framing. And it has been unfortunately reduced to simplified sun sign horoscopes and cookbook personality profiles that just don't do justice to the complexity and nuance of human diversity. Add to that the impressions about it being fortune-telling, or dark divination, or some other heretical BS stamped into our cultural and religious assumptions... and the misconceptions were stacked high against many of us actually taking the time to learn more about how it works - beyond pop astrology - before making a well-informed opinion. So I only dabbled in my learning from time to time, for years... always skeptical.
Then, the Internet. Add some more life experience and spiritual journeying for me. And here I am. Immersed in a type of study I love... in a system of observation that connects nature to human behavior and psyche, and somehow... though we are not sure exactly why... actually works to shine some light on how we are, and why we are how we are. All within a framework that is dynamic, infused with nuance and possibility.
That part about not knowing exactly why or how astrology works is particularly appealing to me. It feels true to the vastness and miracle of Life and interconnectivity, without the arrogance and illusion of human certainty and control interfering.
Back to the question.
How has astrology enriched my life? Besides my obvious enthusiasm over it.
A birth chart is a deeply validating map of possibilities. It can point toward how we can work with our individual nature more effectively - what we know to be true in the truth of our own skin - to move toward a sense of fulfillment, growth, thriving and expression. It shows us areas of life that matter most to us, feed us, call us, and present us with challenge and invitation.
It tells us, like a mirror with infinite yet focused angles, things that we already inherently know deep down inside ourselves, about who we are... and who we are here to become. Things we bury, don't or won't admit, or that we doubt because of... well, the whole frickin' world and what other people project and tell us about ourselves along the way... or for whatever reason, really. It is hard work being human. Your chart can see how life is distinctly hard... and where it is most promising and nurturing... for you.
It shows us how we relate, what we need to feel safe, loved, and to shine from our essence, with as much vitality as is available pouring in and out of us. Astrology points to the spirit in life that touches and moves each of us.
And while it is based on symbolic combinations of just twelve zodiac signs, and twelve houses in the chart, and various planetary bodies or mathematical points, it is much richer than simplified formulas of combinations - because it is not about the fixed points themselves, but about the relationships between them and how we work with those instincts and energies.
And there's also this: FREE WILL. Thank goodness!
The ultimate wild card to every chart is who it belongs to and the choices they make along the way. I love it when we can't claim to be able to predict how shit will go down, don't you?
So, far beyond a system of five love languages or twelve personality signs, for instance, we learn about the variations and seasons within ourselves... about a continuum, a cycle of development, experience and becoming. And if we're paying attention... we begin to realize that every single person is a mysteriously distinct soul with their very own proportions of all the moving parts. Or, said another way, their own proportions of what they need, love, want, and express. While the chart is a map, it is a living map. And what is seen in the map changes every time you look at it... it is that dynamic and integrative to your experience and the perspective brought by the one interpreting it.
Astrology reminds me daily of that which I've always felt to be true about the diversity of people, but see lacking in how we treat, view and try to categorize one another. That there is no one way to be, or go, or follow. One person's needs are vastly different from another's (beyond basic needs, of course). The path one must take to realize themselves and how they fit in to the human family is different for everyone. How one person heals may or may not work for another person with the same dis-ease or predicament... not because they're doing something wrong, but because their way is a different way, and that way may involve different experiences.
Somewhere on a post somewhere in the past few months (maybe one of Rachael Rice's), I read this, which sums up so much: We are NOT all having the same experience. That.
I like to think we all get this, but being human in all the ways we are (...ahem... so very blind at times, to what we are blind to...), we certainly don't act like we get it through how we judge one another and try to impose our ways, opinions and expectations upon one another to maintain our own comfort or illusions. We are all a work-in-process, yes?
Astrology teaches about different courses of possibility for each human. About all the different ways we relate and perceive - and the power that has over us and the decisions we make. How that power can control us, or how we can learn to work consciously with it, given our personal strengths, vision and gifts.
It also reminds me of the infinite relationships of aspects within myself. That every part of me.. the light and dark, that which dies and is reborn another way...that it's all whole. That it's alive. A life, being lived, infused with the creative spirit of something vastly greater than my mind's idea of self or personal growth or 'shoulds' (or even what my chart might 'say' about me).
A single chart can speak to how we perceive our relationships with others, as well. This has been beautifully mind-blowing in my exploration. It helps us discern between our perceptions and what IS... or at least to see that there is often a gap there between the two. Maybe we don't get to know what IS, in definitive terms, but we can safely trust that it is likely more or different than what we alone perceive from any one moment in time. And that every one of us perceives in unique ways, and if we share that with one another, we are contributing to a co-creation with the universe, with God, with Life in ways we can never fully grasp with our little human brains... but sometimes taste in the timeless, thoughtless realms of exploring consciousness beyond the mind. You know, like in the creative zone.
More practically speaking, perhaps... by looking at my own astrology chart, and that of those closest to me, I have more patience with those I love.
Little irritations, judgments or creeping doubts in my relationships don't own me like they used to. I'm more curious. Choosing to be more unconditionally loving has become a smoother practice. I am better at the ol' LIVE AND LET LIVE adage, and just don't feel the need to fight or prove or please as much. I trust the process more, the unknown, the uncomfortable truth of being in transformation, and therefore I have greater faith. I'm not sure many astrologers would say this exactly this way, but for me, astrology brings me closer to God.
It feels deeply imperative to me that we realize individuation, like everything else, is only part of a holistic journey. Astrology, like so many trendy paths and interests these days, is inevitably always about seeking and knowing your self... and we all must start there, to orient, of course.
Yet, if we stop there, we often only come up with a handful of realizations entangled in our self-interested lens and motivations, or worse yet, our own navel-gazing projections. gah! If all of our know-thyself work doesn't lead us back to one another or a larger sense of responsibility and connection with this shared experience of human life on earth, or something we could call a higher power, it seems to me we might be missing the holistic heart of it all.
Maybe the greatest gift, to me personally, is how astrology won't let us lose sight of that bigger picture... beyond the self... if we're paying attention. Beyond the desires of this moment. Beyond what we identify with today. Even the personal goals of this season or life. When the bigger picture stays in view, even in the smallest moments of presence and experience, there is nothing left but a Holy, wow! - and we can't help but take it all a little less seriously, and enjoy the journey a little bit more.
Then there's how a birth chart can be spot on in such personally private ways... it evokes vulnerability and great relief to be seen like that - by the stars, by God's creation. For instance, that a placement of a planet in a moment in time can reflect back to me that I likely had a high sense of responsibility way too young, a probability of childhood sexual abuse, a definite need for creative expression, a gift for organizing groups or group collaborations, and always an innate pull toward healing and helping others... well... Holy wow. Those are just a few truths that my chart points to, and not even as specific as we could get.
If we dive in deeper with our charts into the self awareness of our journey of discovering, as a process - not a fixed destination or way, and how it speaks to our relationships, we begin to explore how it can take us into a vulnerable, liberating paradox of being so very special and so very not-so-special all at once. How we are infinitely interconnected. When we see this, there is no unseeing it, and there is also a choice... to become accountable, to surrender and ally with the transformative process (because it's happening in you anyway), to try to be the highest octave of self we are each here to explore and become and eventually let go of, while we have the precious, precious gift of this life and consciousness.
Astrology has evoked more honest, self-reflection in me. Forgiveness for others. Realizations about residue from the past and in my relationships with others. Patterns, habits and common pits, oh my. It gives me a certain kind of motivation. A lit candle on the path - to keep exploring the unknown path that calls, and follow MY truth without seeing it as simply a selfish choice, but as part of who I am meant to be(come) in this greater macro/micro-cosm of which we are a part.
You see, sometimes, I lose myself. Most days, at least a little anyway. I'm only sort of joking... because it is the truth in us all, to some degree. Every day is a day of releasing and receiving, and the blending or our edges with others.
So, for me, what I mean, is that I can lose my self in others. This can be a glorious gift of presence at times, and it can also be awful at other times. In my chart, for instance, it might be described by being highly mutable, a double Pisces with Libra rising. Cool. Whatever. That's just astrology giving me words and ways of seeing how I already am and always have been. It's the gift of being able to admit this - that it is not something that got broken or lost along the way, but how I am wired - and then to honor it, strengthen core areas of my resolve, learn how to give (or not) in ways that don't neglect what's necessary for my fundamental well-being... that's some of the gold that my astrological chart exploration has given me.
Maybe I received its offerings readily this time around because I was hungry for a fresh way of seeing, and the process works and resonates with synchronous meaning, speaking a soulful language - which I naturally eat up.
But my point is, that it goes way beyond your sun sign, and your rising sign, and even your moon sign - though that blessed trinity is a language that can speak core insights about your path and how you be. The whole chart, though is just that... a holistic framework for looking at the areas of life we all experience, the inner and outer worlds of our human life experience, and the core instincts that drive us all, at varying degrees and in different styles of expression.
So, astrology is a creative lens to see our self and one another and this miraculous connection we have to nature. It is a language that evolves with us, and that honors the complexity of our human experience.
For me, it engages my intuition and creative process, and offers a framework with just enough freedom to satisfy my skeptical, rebellious inclinations. It enriches my inner journey of discovery as I try to live every day as a slightly better, more conscious human than the day before.
It's not the answer, and it can't provide specific circumstantial answers, per se. But it sure can spark insight to inspire our choices, and re-align where and how we place our attention and creative energy.
It's not THE way. It has not become a 'spirituality' or taken the place of God in my life. It is just a helpful tool for seeing connections that lights me up, and that for some reason I seem to have a knack for. I love that it is a great mixture of analysis, wisdom from thousands of years, possibility, reflection, and creativity... and that it can help people as they navigate life, healing and transitions.
I love helping others discover its gifts, too. And while it's not for everyone, it is amazing to see how sharing even a little bit about someone's chart with them can just re-ignite their resolve, validate what's calling them, plug up energy leaks, and make them feel seen and whole, at the very least.
Used in right dose, for the right reasons, it awakens us to our curiosity and creative possibilities, and can empower us to engage with and see this hard work of life and how-we-relate as vastly more interesting and promising.
If you made it this far, thanks for sharing in this wordy musing. Clearly, I could break this down a bit further and get more specific. I'd love to know your experience or questions, too.
I'll end by saying that the enriching, integrative, and holistic gifts of astrology in my life are ongoing and beyond measure.
Shine On, Hali
*** If you are interested in learning about your own astrological birth chart, and exploring what you discover in your creative practice, you can still join us in IN THE STARS for the next few days, with a special last chance discount before August 8.
CLICK HERE to learn more.
This musing was inspired by a participant at Andrea Schroeder's Journal Party yesterday, where I was a special guest. It was a great conversation and time shared with all who could be there! We talked a lot about the idea of what calls us, and about the dynamics of sharing personal and creative process, and you can watch the replay RIGHT HERE.