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s One s s
The Center of the Circle
The symbol of the circle and cross is often used to represent healing. The unity of the circle and the harmony of the four equal arms represent the principle of total health on all levels.
We begin with a circle to represent all there is, all there can be, all potential, out of time. The point in the center of the circle symbolizes the point of creation where time beginspotential starts to become actual and there is separation. In astrology, the circle with a dot in the middle represents the Sun, the great light that hides the source of all life, the Sun itself being the creative source of light and life on Earth. If we extend the dot in the circle so that it becomes the two lines that divide the circle in half both vertically and horizontally, it gives us four equal quarters and a cross of four equal arms, the astrological symbol for the Earth.
The dot is where the two lines cross, and, when the four elements of manifested material life are balanced, that dot will be in the center of the circle. It is that center point that links us with the timelessness of Unity: when we are balanced in ourselves, the Source is accessible to us, transforming our earthly experience with understanding and joy. To develop a powerful, effective, and happy state, we need to contact that center of our being, and there we can be in touch with our own innate wisdom and the essence of all life.
Astrology has the potential to help us reach that center point in ourselves. If we let the circle represent all astrological potential, we can divide it horizontally and vertically to find the center. Astrology can be divided into a science and an art, and also divided into its general use and personal use. First, we will divide the circle horizontally, one half illustrating its use at a general level, showing our similarities as human beings, and the other half showing its application on a personal level. At the personal level, individual birth charts are the tools that show our differences from each other.
We Are the Same, Only Different
There are many books and workshops to help us "peel the onion" of our personality to reach the center. Because they are structured for many people at the same time, they are generalized and based on our similarities. We are the same in that we are all human, we have parents, and we grow through childhood and adolescence and are subject to family and social conditioning. Each of us has a personality with many facets, and we share feelings with the same names, such as guilt, anger, and pleasure. Each of us also has the potential to reach that point within ourselves that feels like the truth of our center. Much of what is written and spoken about self-development addresses these similarities, with ideas such as taking responsibility for one's life, accepting people as they are, thinkingpositively to create positive experience, meditating to make contact with one's center, and so on. We all need these teachings, and working with others, all using the same method, helps give us a sense of our "oneness" with each other.
However, at a personality level, which is where we mostly live, we are very different from each other, and the methods of working with our own personal unfolding need to be as individual as we are ourselves. Every now and then in life, a person who is working toward a new, more aware style of life will need individual help, as they reach an unconscious attitude block or a repetitive behavioral plateau where the general words cannot be assimilated and used. They may work with a therapist of some kind or a friend, or may choose to work alone, but, without some sort of map as an unbiased overview, they can get lost. Astrology is a system as ancient as humanity that offers each individual a personal map. This map, or chart, is created mathematically from scientifically derived information based on the individual's time and place of birth. All this is as unbiased as one's reflection in a mirror. No judgment is offered by the chart, simply a statement of how it is.
The branch of astrology that fascinates most people is natal astrology, that supremely personal view showing the reflection of your life on earth and your individual character, different from any other. Your birth chart reflects your personality with all its individuality and potential. It also shows the unconscious tendencies that may keep your potential from unfolding as fully as it could.
The interpretation of astrology that is not so often considered is the broader view, where we use the Zodiac signs, the celestial bodies, and the twelve divisions of the sky to describe the human condition in a general sense. Confusion can arise through the use of general astrology in newspapers and magazines, which is often written in more individualistic terms than is appropriate. This is a legitimate use of planets in Zodiac signs, but can be misleading when it is taken too personally.
The general view describes the whole of human potential; each person is capable of expressing qualities of all the Zodiac signs, and everyone's life force has all the functions represented by all the planets. The most complete reflection of humanity as a whole, and even of one individual person, is the entire sky. If we want to see a reflection of our individual selves, we have only to look at the night sky with all its wonders. Even then, all that we can see on a clear night is only half of our reflection, the other half being beneath the earth.
It is good to remember that we help ourselves evolve not only by learning to accept our particular reflection in our birth chart, but also by learning to accept other people as reflected in their birth charts. We also evolve by recognizing how we are all little splinters of the great human hologram, described in "The Zodiac Story" in chapter 2. Each one of us contains the whole human experience, and each one of us is also individually expressed by the whole; that is to say, "I am all of it," and also, "It all reflects me."
We are all human beings, different because of our individual perceptions of life; and each one of us, as partof Oneness, is also a doorway for theexpression of all creation. Bearing this in mind, we recognize the need to balance the two halves of the circle and align ourselves with the line across the center.
Logic and Intuition
We can also divide the astrological circle vertically, the scientific method on the left, and the art of practice on the right.
The science of astrology takes the movements of stars and planets, from the point of view of the Earth, drawn as a two-dimensional pattern, and describes them using the principles and meanings laid down over centuries of experience. In natal astrology, this drawing is a chart, or picture, of the time and place of birth of a character, and the description is a character analysis, which can be run off a computer. If the information built into the program is accurate and well expressed, a printout for a particular birth time will be a good analysis.
The art of astrology is the intuitive blending, or synthesis, of the astrological principles involved in a chart, in order to interpret that chart for its owner in a helpful and appropriate way. Even people with almost identical charts can receive individual readings relevant to their experiences and that address the roots of their beliefs about life. This kind of chart reading involves an intuitive rapport with clients in order to describe the chart in a way they recognize as themselves.
Such a chart reading will confirm people's experiences of themselves and their lives. It will show them how it is possible to create more enjoyable experiences at work, in relationships, and so on. It will give them a more conscious sense of their own potential as being achievable, and a feeling that they are valuable and worthy of self-acceptance. A good reading will enable people to align with their most satisfying course of action, and will suggest what would feel good to focus on next.
The science of astrology requires use of the left brain, while the art of astrology is an expression of the right brain. Without the art of astrology, one can be an expert in the science of astrology, yet give a useless and even damaging interpretation of a birth chart. On the other hand, without an accurate chart, even practicing the art of astrology in a healing way will still give false information. What is needed is a balance between the two sides to align ourselves with the line down the center.
Astrology as a Guide to the Center Point
In a chart reading, the astrologer needs to help clients balance the way they see themselves, both as individuals (their differences) and as people in relationship with the rest of humanity (their similarities with others), so that their personal development will not cut them off from society. This balancing also allows each individual's growth and greater awareness to "salt the pot" of humanity, because every individual development, however apparently small, is reflected in the whole.
In each of the following chapters, this first division of the circle will be made by talking about the general meaning of the astrological principles in a first section called "Ways in Which We Are the Same," followed by a second section called "Ways in Which We Are Different," containing the particular, individual use of these principles for personal understanding, relationship, and growth.
When we use scientifically calculated birth charts and the ancient principles of astrology, and practice the interpretation of them as an art, we strengthen the link between the two hemispheres of the brain. This second division of the circle will be made clear by the words themselves speaking sequentially to the left brain, and the symbols and many of the ideas speaking to the right brain. Shifting ideas from left-brain words to right-brain understanding, and back, can be facilitated by carrying out the exercises given throughout this book.
To be on both dividing lines at once puts us on the dot in the center of the circle, the hole in the middle where we can fall through the center of our being into All That Is. Enabling people to get to that place in themselves allows a transformative experience to occur in a chart reading. When we read a chart well, we are combining the intellectual and intuitive faculties of the brain and expressing them through the heart.
From the spirit symbol of the Sun, the dot within the circle, we have arrived at the Earth symbol, the circle and cross, which is the shape of the astrological birth chart itself. The chart shows how we balance our personal experience (below the horizon) with our connection to the whole (above the horizon), and our self-expression (left side) with our receptiveness (right side). All this is contained within the circle of Zodiac signs and houses, which express all potential human experience.
Astrology in a Nutshell
An astrological birth chart consists of the following:
1. The planets, which represent life energy flowing through us with different functions.
2. The Zodiac signs, which indicate the style or manner in which each energy (planet) is expressed.
3. The houses where the planets are located, which describe the areas of our life that encourage us to use that energy, and the activities that get the energy going.
4. The planets are said to be in relationship with each other when the number of degrees between them is significant. Aspects is the name given to planetary relationships, each of a specific number of degrees indicating a different reaction between them. I generally use only numbers that are multiples of 30 , thereby keeping the scientific side simple. Thus there are six aspects, including the conjunction, and each one describes a different relationship between the two planets involved.
5. Basically, this is all that needs to be known, but I like to include the Nodes of the Moon, which suggest our most satisfying life direction and how to achieve it. I use this lunar axis because finding a direction or purpose for this life can integrate all the other factors in the chart, and thus help us integrate our divergent personality traits. It creates a life "story" that feels right and satisfying, and helps us accept ourselves.
A typical birth chart is shown on the next page. It shows the horizon at the time of birth across the middle, and the due south/north line labeled "MC" at the top, which together create the four quadrants and thus the twelve numbered houses. The planets are shown in the signs they occupied at birth. Their geometrical relationships, experienced as innate personality reactions, are indicated by the lines connecting them with each other. The points called the Nodes of the Moon are opposite each other.
It is crucial to remember that astrology neither makes us who we are, nor creates our life experience. The birth chart describes us, as a map describes a landscape or a mirror reflects a face. Our personality is our spirit's choice, and what we do in our life is up to us.
Transformative Chart Reading
We need to be gentle, accepting, and loving toward the people whose birth charts we read, including ourselves. It is not easy to understand our own chart because we have so much assumed "knowledge" of ourselves; so, if we begin by imagining our unknown self sitting beside us, it will be easier to create an attitude of really wanting to know this self better.
When reading a birth chart, we need to work within two beliefs: first, that each person's life can be meaningful; and second, that experience is useful when we learn something positive from it. The added sense that life itself is a joy, combined with a love of people as individuals, will make your time together a healing experience for your clients, regardless of how much or how little astrological knowledge you have. This helps people be open to change and growth during the reading.
One of the most valuable results of a chart reading is the ability it gives us to detach a little from our personality, enabling us to see ourselves. At the beginning of your readings, you may want to spend some time talking about the planets in signs on a casual level, so that clients can start to look at themselves in this detached way, even seeing where in the chart their characteristics are reflected.
Then you will need to focus on the places where clients are having trouble in life, giving away their power to situations or other people. These painful areas will be shown by planetary principles that are in an uncomfortable position in the chart, and clients are likely to want to reject those experiences. Since the whole chart is always in operation, the rejected energies do not disappear, but will instead be reflected by the behavior of relatives, colleagues, and bosses, and difficulties will show up in relationship with those people. So we describe the characteristic that is being projected onto others by describing the relevant planet in its sign and house.
It is a good idea, when searching for a way to describe a particular planet in a chart, first to give clients an idea of what it might feel like, and then have them describe in their own words how it feels to them and what actually seems to happen in that area of life. You might also ask them why they feel the need or desire to judge and reject a particular feeling or behavior, in order to discover what their difficulty is with handling that energy. Individuals are far more complex than the few celestial details we put in a chart, and an astrologer can learn something new with every reading.
At this point in a reading, depending on your counseling abilities, it may be relevant to speak of the early life where the difficulties appear to have begun. It is best to avoid blaming parents because this perpetuates a sense of being a victim. So together you might even create images of possible past lives, because earlier experiences could be replaying in this lifetime. It is not important to be "accurate" about past lives. The crucial factor is whether it "feels right" to the recipient.
Using past lives as a description of origins of reactions and behavior is useful in that it takes the fear we have of people and events away from the future, and places it in the past in a time that was very different from this lifetime. The feared event has already happened and what we have now is only the memory of the trauma. It may be that the person we have been reacting to recently merely reminds us of someone we tangled with painfully in the past.
Once we realize that it is our fear and expectation of remembered events that has been recreating our experiences, we are free to let go of the expectation. By understanding that our reactions probably have a good cause, we can more easily accept our pain.
Using your knowledge of astrological meanings, however small you feel it to be, you can, at this point, show how the rejected energy could manifest if it were expressed in more positive ways, and what abilities it might indicate. As clients accept the energy in that form, they begin to feel it in themselves. They find both that this energy feels natural to them, and also that the ability that goes with it is something they already do in certain circumstances with positive results.
As clients integrate the idea of these characteristics, it becomes possible to describe their potential, shown by the rest of the chart, in terms that they feel is actually possible to achieve. The order of the chart reading does not have to be as stated here. The best guides are the way the conversation goes with the recipient, and your own intuition. Many negatively experienced issues may arise during a reading, requiring positive and useful vision to balance them. The truth is that every ability needs to be used with care, and every difficulty teaches a skill. If we cannot find the balancing vision, trusting that it exists will be enough to keep us steady.
In the following chapters, the Zodiac signs, planets, and houses are expressed in ways that will give you the sense of a complete picture, enabling chart readings to be transformative experiences.
The recipients of such a reading will be unfolding inside while the reading proceeds; during the process, changes will be occurring in their mental structuring, and their programmed beliefs and expectations. Because of these developments, changes will also be occurring in the emotions. Sometimes clients will shift position suddenly, sigh deeply, cry, or laugh, all of which indicate an internal shift. Through these emotional and bodily changes, the hormones, the glands that secrete them, and the whole energy system of the body are undergoing a shakeup, a healing.
This ultimately affects the basic life programming in the genes and DNA because the physical body is structured according to the energy system. People are brought into the present time at a very deep level through the acceptance of who they really arethe transformation. It can be likened to developmental homeopathy; the potency of the remedy in a transformative chart reading is the vibrational sound of the spoken word accurately prescribed.
As the genes are affected, what was hereditary is changed for future generations. It is not necessary to pass on to our children everything that has come down from our ancestors. Changing the structure of bodies being born, through releasing restrictive belief patterns, enables finer, wiser spirits to incarnate without getting lost in the negative programming of our present world. We need them!