No fault in the stars
When I was a teenager, I stumbled across Linda Goodman’s book on sun signs. I was taken aback by how accurate her writing was for my sun sign of Capricorn. However, basing one’s understanding of astrology on sun signs is like assuming an iceberg to be only as big as the portion that is visible and above the sea. There is an ocean of information to be processed if one wishes to understand the dynamics that govern the field of astrology.
It was only in my late 20s and early 30s that I became more familiar with the subtler aspects of astrology. I got to know about the rising sign which is the sign that was rising on the Eastern horizon when one is born. I also understood that each planet, the moon and its shadow aspects of Rahu and Ketu are in distinct signs in the birth chart. Hence, a person may have characteristics of different signs. This refutes the traditional view of the astrology skeptics of how can all people be categorized into twelve categories with typical characteristics. The doubters think that astrology is all about stereotypes.
One important criticism of astrology is the accuracy of daily horoscopes that get printed in the newspaper. It is not surprising that these are rarely valid since every person is an amalgamation of signs. The rising sign which is the sign that determines the soul’s purpose and personality of an individual is often more critical than the sun sign. The moon sign which signals emotions and mental makeup of an individual is another critical pillar. Apart from this, the planets are constantly in motion and influencing each other.
How does astrology work? How can heavenly bodies millions of kms away influence us, determine our mental makeup and decide our futures? Well, if the moon can influence tides in the ocean then is it really so surprising that it has an impact on our bodies which are 75% water. The moon is still relatively close to the Earth as compared to a planet like Saturn which when it is closest to the Earth is over a billion kms away. There is a theory that the planets interfere with the Earth’s magnetic field which has an influence on children being carried in their mother’s womb. However, it has to be admitted that there is very little scientific proof for astrology.
Every time I read something about my birth chart I learn something new which helps me to make sense of my life. It never ceases to amaze me how sometimes even the tiniest of details can be explained through astrology. I guess astrology is a faith based discipline rather than a theory based one. Not to say that there are no theories in astrology. In fact, there is a plethora of theories regarding the houses in a birth chart, how the planets aspect each other and influence a person’s life. However, astrology is not an exact science like physics or chemistry. Much of the results of astrology depend on the intuition of the person reading the birth chart and how this person sifts through the data to come up with an analysis.
So, the important question when it comes to astrology remains — is one’s destiny chained to the natal chart which is one’s birth chart and shows the planets in their signs and their respective houses. Each house indicates a specific aspect of a person’s life. The planets occupy certain positions in the houses and in cases there may be multiple planets in a particular house. In this case, the analysis has to be done keeping in mind the degrees of the planets and the nature of each planet. Each planet has particular qualities associated with itself for instance Mars is about energy while Saturn is concerned with discipline and hard work.
The stars have fascinated mankind for thousands of years. Right from ancient times man has wondered and analyzed how the heavenly bodies influence us. Now, in 2020 millennials have brought this ancient field to the fore once again. Stresses of work and dependence on social media have made youngsters more curious about this ancient field of study. This Atlantic piece analyses how astrology straddles the boundary of rationality and mysticism and explores reasons for this renewed interest in astrology.
Most people are interested in the predictive aspect of astrology. They are keen to know when they will get married, how their career will progress and what the future holds for them. I am not so interested in this use of astrology. What fascinates me is how astrology is able to predict our nature, personality and basic driving forces. ‘Know thyself’ is a powerful saying and astrology does a great job in helping to achieve that.
So, like I mentioned earlier that each planet is in a sign in one’s birth chart. For each planet, there is a sign where that planet is exalted or very strong and one where it is debilitated or very weak. What does this mean for us? If I have some critical planets such as Mars and Saturn debilitated then am I doomed? We need to keep in mind that there are checks and balances in place in every chart. If some planets are debilitated then there will be other aspects of astrology which will be positive for the chart.
Inherent in the skepticism regarding astrology is the issue of determinism and free will. If everything is decided by the stars then why should we strive for anything? That’s a bit like trying to sail a boat in the open sea without keeping your hands on the rudder. The wind and the sea currents will influence your boat but they cannot sail the boat for you. Ultimately, you have to take matters in your own hands.
If free will exists and we decide what kind of life we experience then what is the purpose behind studying the planets. Think of the planets as weathermen who predict weather in different portions of your city. If you wish to live independent of the planets then be prepared for all kinds of weather. Carry a jacket, an umbrella and a raincoat for good measure. It always helps to be prepared.
I have a simple recipe to befriend the planets. It requires no special understanding of astrology. All it needs is some dedication and discipline. Find your passion, pursue it and stay healthy. This ensures that your mind and body are in good condition. The birth chart is nothing but a depiction of one’s mind and body. If you keep these in good health then the planets are bound to respond favorably to you. There is no such thing as a bad birth chart. Just as there is no such thing as bad weather.
It all depends how you go about your life and whether you explore your passion or simply go about life clueless about what you truly love. Some people achieve success early while others do so later in life. It would be so boring if everybody was successful at an early age. One needs variety in life just as we see variety in landscapes and life forms. The planets exist to guide us. However, we need to put in the effort in order to see results. We are not slaves to determinism just as we are not masters of free will. There are checks and balances in place to ensure stability.
So, maybe I have roused your interest in knowing your rising sign or perhaps you want to know your moon sign. Go to any astrology site online and type your date of birth, place of birth and time of birth. You will get your birth chart with details of the positions of each planet in the various signs and houses. As you read more about these signs, perhaps you too will understand yourself in greater depth. Or maybe it’s the Scorpio rising with Saturn in the first house in me that has this interest in astrology. Who knows, all I know is that the world is a richer place because of astrology. What we do with this field is up to us.
Originally published at http://ridingvaves.wordpress.com on December 13, 2020.