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The Foundations of Astrology
CHOICE CENTERED ASTROLOGY is more than just a book title; it's a philosophical approach to Astrology based on my choice centered orientation to life. The phrase "choice centered" came to me early one morning in 1980 when I was searching for a title for my Tarot book. At first, I thought it was just a book title until I realized that I had been developing the concepts of choice centered living since the early 1970s. In that book, I applied my world view to the Tarot. In this book, I'll interweave choice centered theory with Astrological principles.
I believe that our lives are determined by our unconscious and conscious choices, not by the vague force known as "fate." I feel that, if we live by fate, we have little power in our lives. Fate gives us only two choices: waiting around to see what will be dished out OR getting psychic predictions about what will be dished out and then waiting to see if they come true. In either case, fateful living happens at us. Choice centered living, on the other hand, happens because of us. I feel certain that we create our life experiences out of a combination of the choices we made before birth and those we make every day. This doesn't mean that our experiences are always easy and wonderful. It does mean that, at any time, we have the option of changing or improving them. Minute by minute, and year by year, we make decisions that allow us to act, and to react to the adventures we create in the context of our lives.
Astrology can enable us to analyze our past, present, and future choices. It can trigger insights that allow us to examine our unconscious decisions. It also can present us with a conceptual framework to support us when we want to enhance and improve our conscious choices. Astrology can help us have compassion for ourselves, for our past "mistakes," and for our current struggles. Occasionally, we may even be tempted to lay the blame for our propensities and predilections at Astrology's door. Since I really do believe in choice centeredness, this book will not support the "blame your Astrological Sign" point of view. Instead, it will remind you that you always have a choice about how to create and respond to your life experiences.
By opening this book, you've already made a decision to explore Astrology from a choice centered perspective. This means you have a desire to understand basic Astrological principles and a willingness to entertain the notion that your life might be choice centered.
HOW ASTROLOGY WORKS
Astrology, in its many uses and applications, includes everything from the daily blurbs in the newspaper to financial advisories and weather forecasts. It interests people from all cultures and all walks of life, attracting everyone from world leaders, philosophers, psychologists, and psychics to entertainers, factory workers, bookkeepers, and researchers. It's a broad held, encompassing as many facets as there are individuals who pursue it. The commonality of our experience as students of Astrology lies in our willingness to believe that the movements of the Planets have some relationship to the living of our lives. Whoever you are, now that you've decided to study Astrology, you'll want to understand how it functions. In the rest of this Chapter, I'll discuss how it works and present several theories about why it works. I'll also describe your basic Astrological tool.
The study of Astrology, from any perspective, begins with calculating the exact positions of the Planets and other galactic bodies at specifically chosen times. Up until the 1970s, these positions had to be figured, carefully, by hand. Fortunately, we now have a choice. By using computers, we can arrive quickly at accurate calculations. Whether you choose to work by hand or by computer, you'll organize the resulting data into a map of the sky at a given moment: an ASTROLOGY CHART.
Charts, in and of themselves, are mathematically interesting, but they are only the doorway to the more meaningful world of Astrology: CHART INTERPRETATION. Over the centuries, through careful and deliberate observation, people have found correlations between the patterns in the sky and the events occurring in their lives. Gradually, a basic body of knowledge has been compiled, adapted, and reinterpreted, era by era. Even now, as evidenced by the emergence of a choice centered Astrology, the concepts and theories continue to evolve. As a result, while we might find the interpretations of 200 AD amusing, the people who come after us will undoubtedly find our language and concepts dated. I'm convinced, however, that despite these changes in application, the core concepts of Astrology will consistently hold true. It is a system that works.
Why does it work? Before I present some answers to that question, let me briefly explain how Astrology doesn't work. In itself, Astrology is not magical, religious, or psychic even though people who study Astrology may exhibit those qualities. So, your study of Astrology won't take you into magical rituals, devil worship, or mystical understandings about the Universe. In fact, as you study Astrology from the choice centered approach, you'll choose the changes, if any, that will occur in your perceptions and your life. Choice centered Astrology will help you understand how the measurable phenomena of the planetary movements correlate with the seemingly non-measurable phenomena of our subjective experiences. That correlation can be explained through several theories.
One of these theories suggests that the gravitational and magnetic forces that affect the Earth also have an effect on us. Scientists have discovered that the Moon affects the tides and that sunspots and eclipses correspond with political and geological tension. Expanding on these theories, it makes sense to hypothesize that animals and humans might also feel the influences of the "heavenly" bodies: the Sun, Moon, and Planets. From this point of view, depending on where and when you're living, you'd experience different "cosmic" influences which would trigger biological and emotional responses in you. The Planets might actually compel you to act and react.
Another point of view is that the Planets describe us rather than influencing us. This perspective is expressed in the phrase "as above, so below," which means that whatever occurs in the "heavens" is reflected on the Earth. At the heart of this hypothesis is the belief that the whole Universe operates in an orderly and predictable fashion. As a result, any one portion of the Universe exhibits the same logic, cycles, and patterns that will be found in any other portion. One of these forces of change doesn't cause the others. They are all a part of the same rhythm, and they all reflect each other. According to this theory, the planetary cycles would match biological, emotional, geological, and political moments and movements on Earth. Therefore, your birth would reflect the Universal themes of its time and place. And, by interpreting the planetary patterns at that time, you can discover how you fit into the greater scheme of things.
At a spiritual level, an Astrological Chart could be a description of a soul's expression on Earth. This theory presumes that each soul is born into a specific body, personality, family, class, race, culture, and historical period and it also assumes that, within this setting, the soul is attempting to express itself as creatively as possible. If this is true, then your Chart would describe the nature of the body and personality that your soul has chosen for this life. In addition, your Chart would show something about the kind of emotional and practical environment it has selected.
From a choice centered outlook, any of these theories could be true. Even if the Planets compel us to act, we can still make choices about how we react to their influences. If our Charts reflect predictable Universal patterns, we face choices about how we utilize the forces represented in those patterns. And, if our Charts are truly descriptions of the bodies and personalities chosen by our souls, we certainly make choices about how to best express those souls within this reality. Each of these theories, in its own way, makes sense. So, choose the ones that fit into your own system of beliefs. And, remember that whatever the underlying reason for its effectiveness, Astrology can be useful to you by providing you with a theoretical framework for self-understanding. This framework is based on your Astrological Chart.
THE NATAL CHART: YOUR BASIC ASTROLOGICAL TOOL
Astrological Charts can be constructed for the "births" of everything from people, relationships, and pets to businesses, organizations, and countries. Anything that has a starting point has a BIRTH TIME and PLACE. And, anything with a Birth Time and Place can have a BIRTH, or NATAL, Chart.
A Natal Chart shows the positions of the Planets, at the exact time of someone's birth, relative to the location of that birth. This time should be noted at the first breath- Usually, this is the baby's birth cry or coo. Even if life-support systems or Caesarean Sections are involved, the baby's impulse toward independence from her mother, which is represented by separate breathing, is the Astrological moment of birth.
Natal Charts are incredibly unique in that exact planetary patterns only repeat themselves every 26,000 years or so. It's true that if two people are born at the same moment in time, in the same town, they will have matching Charts. If their family, economic, and ethnic situations are similar, their lives could mirror each other. On the other hand, twins born close together in time, with only small differences in their Charts, may choose dissimilar ways of using their energies in order to individually express themselves. Your own options will be reflected in your Natal Chart just as mine are represented through the symbols in my Chart (Fig. 1-1).
As you read this book, you'll be exposed to concepts and techniques that will help you decipher the potential symbolized in your Natal Chart. Through reading it, you'll discover some of what I know about the essentials of Natal Astrology from a practical, yet choice centered, perspective. You'll find psychological and concrete meanings for each Astrological symbol and you'll be encouraged to choose among multiple interpretations and applications for the ones that suit you best. I've gathered and refined this material over fifteen years of study and professional work. It's been tested in my life and in the lives of my clients and students. And, even though I'm always discovering new angles on old theories, this book does contain the basics.
CHOICE CENTERED ASTROLOGY: THE BASICS is organized in the ways I've found most useful when teaching classes. In Chapters 2 and 3, I'll explain the system of Astrology. Specifically, Chapter 2 will deal with the technical features of an Astrology Chart, while Chapter 3 will cover the dynamics of choice centered Chart interpretation. In each of these Chapters, I've made it a point to distinguish between the FUNDAMENTALS and the DETAILS. By mastering the fundamentals, you can interpret your own Chart and those of your friends and family. If you want to go further, you'll probably want to understand the details as well.
Once you've come to understand the fundamentals of the system described in these two Chapters, you can utilize the in-depth interpretations of Chapters 4, 5, 6, and 7 to expand your knowledge. In the last Chapter you'll find information and processes you can use to begin doing Astrological "readings" for yourself and others. All in all, there's quite a bit of information in this book, but my intention has been to structure it in an accessible manner. Your use of the book is up to you; you can choose to read it all at once, dip into it whenever you're in the mood, or study it in a sequenced, disciplined manner. Use the approach that feels right to you. After all, it's a choice centered book. Take what you want and leave the rest. You can always come back to it later.
Welcome to the world of Choice Centered Astrology!
In this Chapter, I discussed my choice centered orientation to living, described how Astrology works, and presented several theories about why it works. I also explained that the Natal Chart, the Chart based on your Birth Time, Date, and Place will be your basic Astrological tool.
1-1 Think about why you're interested in Astrology. Do you already know or believe that it works? Why do you think it works?
1-2 Take a moment to think about why you've decided to read CHOICE CENTERED ASTROLOGY: THE BASICS. Make a list of the things you hope to discover through reading this book.
1-3 Imagine what you'd like to do, in the future, with your Astrological knowledge. Ask yourself whether you're interested in finding out more about yourself and your friends or in eventually becoming a professional.
Astrology as a Technical System
It's easiest to learn to read Astrology Charts if you have one or more of them in front of you. Therefore, throughout the book, I'll utilize two specific Charts as references: one is that of a young girl that I'll call Janie (Fig. 2-1); the other is that of a grown woman I'll name Grace (Fig. 2-2). In this Chapter, I'll use their Charts as examples while I discuss the TECHNICAL FEATURES of Astrology. In accordance with my choice centered philosophy, I'll present the Astrological features that are consistent in most Charts as well as describing some of the optional ones. As you read, you'll find out how to get a copy of your Chart. You'll also find out just how the Houses, Signs, and Planets and other important factors are represented in a Chart. You still won't know what any of this means, but by the time you go on to Chapter 3, you'll have a sense of the mechanics. The rest of the book will be devoted to the interpretation of the symbols that you'll learn to recognize in Chapter 2.
In addition to using these Charts, you'll probably want to apply the ideas and concepts to your own Chart. You may even want to look at the Charts of family members and friends. If you want to work with your personal collection of Charts, it would be a good idea for you to get them before reading any further. You can hand-calculate them but, as I explained in Chapter 1, it's not really necessary in this day and age. For that reason, I'm not going to discuss Chart calculation in this book. Instead, I'll assume that you'll be getting your Charts from a computer.
In order to have a computer calculate your Charts, you will need to give it some information. For each Chart that you want, you'll have to give the computer the following data:
BIRTH TIME (as close to the MINUTE as possible)
BIRTH DATE (day, month, year)
BIRTH PLACE (City, State, Country)
Of these three pieces of data, the one that can be tricky to find is the Birth Time. The first place to look for it is on your birth certificate. If you don't have yours, you can usually get a copy from the appropriate hospital, County, or State Records Department. If your Birth Time is not recorded on your birth certificate, it's possible that your baby book or birth announcement (if you have either of these) might contain it. Barring these options, a parent or relative might remember the time. At least, they might remember if you were born in the middle of the night, before lunch, after work, or "around 10 AM."
Excerpted from Choice Centered Astrology by Gail Fairfield. Copyright © 1990 Gail Fairfield. Excerpted by permission of Samuel Weiser, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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FOREWORD: Some Thoughts on the Nature of Choice by Donna Cunningham
ONE: The Foundations of Astrology
TWO: Astrology as a Technical System
THREE: Astrology as an Interpretational System
FOUR: The Houses
FIVE: The Signs
SIX: The Planets and the Points
SEVEN: The Aspects
EIGHT: Reading a Natal Chart
A: Using a Pendulum to Divine Your Birth Time
B: Computer and Other Resources
C: The Asteroids
D: Calculating the Part of Fortune
E: More About the Structure of the Houses
F: More About the Structure of the Signs
G: More About the Aspects
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Posted March 30, 2000
I ENJOYED THIS BOOK BECAUSE OF THE WAY THE AUTHOR STRESSED 'CHOICE' THROUGHOUT THE BOOK. THOUGH, I WAS A BIT DISAPPOINTED BY THE 'COOKBOOK' APPROACH TO INTERPRETATION. YET THE TITLE DOES STATE 'BASICS', SO I CAN'T BE TOO DISAPPOINTED. SUPPLEMENTED WITH A MORE IN-DEPTH HANDLING OF INTERPRETATIONS, IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.