Over the last few months I have been doing my best to shore up some of the basics of astrology. I joined a class that meets weekly for a year to go over all the structure and knowledge from the Hellenistic traditional teachings. There are terrific textbooks to go through which help solidify a lot of missing pieces for me. Obviously, I have a long way to go in the class and there is a lot more to learn but what I’m finding is that to really understand astrology it requires a devotion to archetypes and mythology.
When I was learning about the Enneagram, I really enjoyed the depth of it. Not only do you have the 9 different basic types of personality but you have nuances from the other types on either side a person can lean toward. You can go to different types when you’re stressed or when you are very happy. You can have different tendencies even within your own type based on your mental health and state of mind. It then factors in so many other aspects to your type that reveal the extreme complexities that really do make us up as individuals. The only problem I had with the Enneagram is that you can’t really assist other people other than to educate them. I cannot look at my friend or my child and help them determine what type they are on the surface without really understanding their inner mind. It is very easy to mis-type yourself and not easy to type someone else because we are so complex. What I love about astrology is that from someone’s birth chart I can see the various areas of potential growth or pitfalls and then assist from there and although someone may not be exhibiting their chart they cannot choose another one.
However, in looking at someone’s chart it is not enough to see that they have Jupiter in the 12th house or Venus in the 5th. As a student of astrology that does not tell much. Yes, you can derive some information from the basic placements. Being an analytical, logic-minded person I was looking for formulas and checkboxes to be able to read a chart accurately. That may make for a decent reading, or a basic one, but it is not a professional-level reading. I picked up Richard Tarnas’ Cosmos and Psyche book as well as Liz Greene’s The Astrology of Fate. It has become abundantly clear to me to observe the chart like a game board. Stay with me here. My oldest son played Magic and Dungeons and Dragons. Occasionally I would be in the room and hear the process. They had to know, in-depth the characters and what tools and assets they had to offer. They had to know how they interacted with other characters. They would make up scenarios for the game to lay the groundwork of the storyline etc. It was very complex. The same appears to be true of astrology as well. Not only do I need to know that Aries is ruled by Mars but when Venus comes through the 1st house is she welcome? What is it like to live in the territory of Mars and what tools do they have to offer? Are they willing to share the tools with Venus or is Venus rejected and treated like an enemy? Does Venus have power there because she is an outsider? When she moves into a Mercury-ruled house, is she more welcome? Is she treated with respect and given the tools she needs? These are the mental constructs needed to really understand a chart. It takes imagination and knowledge of the archetypes of each character and how they relate.
So, it is my next step in the journey toward astrological mastery to read up on the old mythologies of old. I intend to look into the Greek stories as well as the Jungian archetypes to get a foothold on the various characters and the feelings and tendencies behind the complex personalities of the gods and creatures represented there so that the birth chart comes to life. Granted, my imagination cannot drive someone else’s chart. It still requires their input to confirm that the archetypes are presenting in the way that the chart seems to indicate, but once that is verified it will help in really diving into what the karma and fate of a person’s trajectory truly may be. It is my sincere opinion that unless I can actually assist a person in locating pitfalls and finding their destiny than being an astrologist is really no more than interesting at best.
Another interesting thought I had in relation to the birth chart being like a game was from Liz Greene’s description of Pluto moving through the houses as a person gets older. Pluto starts out in one house and can take 20+ years in each sign as it moves. Where Pluto starts out is an indication of the area of life that is most needed to work on for the person. However, as Pluto ticks through each sign, it creates havoc and upsets all the person’s perception of life and how they find stability. As I was pondering movies/stories that I’m familiar with that may provide some insight I thought of The Hunger Games. In the final book/movie the “players” find themselves in a game that is similar to a clock. As the clock strikes a new hour something crazy and disrupting happens, in some occasions killing characters, burning them, or driving them to another part of the “clock” to ensure they do not get comfortable. Pluto, likewise, can represent chaos and death. Not only actual death but the death of ideas, comfort, relationships, the self/ego etc. It is meant to drive change and force the person to become what they were meant to become. The purpose of The Hunger Games is very different than Pluto. Pluto isn’t attempting to destroy for the sake of punishment. It is looking to take down so it can rebuild better and stronger unless of course death actually occurs. Liz Greene points out that we are at the mercy of Pluto and fighting it will only cause more damage than just accepting the lessons it has to give.
These are the kind of stories that we can look at and relate to as we look at charts and attempt to explain them to the people looking for information within them. As I grow to understand the myths and stories, both new and old, it can give some depth of understanding and a foothold to the person’s ability to relate their lives to those of the characters in the stories. Accepting that we are like Katniss navigating a volatile Pluto transit through the 12th house and gearing up for the battle within is more empowering than just telling someone that Pluto in the 12th house will cause depression and questioning of everything they believe. The house Pluto is transiting through indicates the kind of armor and weaponry we may need to get through it with strength and purpose rather than being battle-torn and wounded. A 20-year transit is no joke and should be taken seriously.
I’m excited about this new adventure. It will require me, as a person, to get in touch with my right brain and weave the left-brained knowledge into something more tangible and interesting. There are no boxes to check or pat answers to give in real astrology. I intend to learn what I need to do to be the best I can be.