“Six thousand years ago, when the human mind was still half asleep, Chaldean priests were standing on their watchtowers, scanning the stars.”
( from The Sleepwalkers by Arthur Koestler )
I love knowing that the rational, mythical, symbolic and empirical art of astrology has been around for at least six thousand years. Our increasing contemporary awareness of the interconnectedness of all things was well known in antiquity: the ancient maxim “As above, so below” still applies. Astrologers operate on the margins of our fragmenting, reductionist culture. But we represent an unbroken line to a time which in many ways was wiser than ours is now. Being a tiny thread in that weave gives me a deep sense of pride, connectedness and rootedness.
I love being able to look out at the night sky, seeing the beauty of the lunar cycle and the visible planets in their ever changing, ever repeating patterns, knowing that being an astrologer offers one the privilege of perceiving not only astronomy but also symbolic meaning out there. I can still recall the exhilaration I felt on a freezing cold, clear night in January 1986 on a visit to the Outer Hebrides. My brother, a Merchant Navy captain, was able to point out Saturn to me – the first time I had ever seen that venerable planet with the naked eye. Saturn’s meaning was also present that night; we were on our way back from the wake for an old uncle who had just died.
I love the fact that I started out as a dismisser of our ancient art, and ended up its devoted practitioner – having set out to confront my embarrassment at the inexplicable fascination I had developed for a subject which I considered to be beneath my intellectual consideration! This is the typical position of ignorance combined with arrogance from which many people dismiss astrology, not realising there is a subject of great depth and power beyond the Sun Signs of astrology’s public face. I embarked on a course of study with the Faculty of Astrological Studies in the early 1980s – to prove to myself through study rather than ignorant dismissal that there was nothing in astrology – and have kept up an unbroken interest since then for nearly 30 years. If you want to read the strange story of how my astrological career began in a launderette in Bath, England, UK, check out the link below!
I love how literal astrology can be. Saturn met Neptune in November 1989 and the Berlin Wall came down. There was a Jupiter Uranus conjunction in Libra in July 1969 when a huge co-operative effort of unique scientific endeavour put the first human on the Moon. The day Pluto first went into Sagittarius in January 1995, there was a massive earthquake in Japan and the city of Kobe went up in flames. At that same time, John Paul, the best-travelled Pope ever, preached to an open air audience of over a million people in Manila in the Philippines. To lower the tone somewhat, I was having lunch with a bank manager friend of mine on the day Saturn turned retrograde on my Scorpio IC. For no apparent reason (being sober at the time!) I passed out, just as another bank manager and friend of my friend was passing the restaurant window. They both ended up carting me home between them.
I love the impossibility of ever getting on top of, or to the end of, one’s astrological studies. I have never applied myself to eg Chinese or Hindu astrology, not yet feeling I have enough of a grasp of the Western tradition into which I was born….and you can do hundreds or thousands of horoscope readings, teach hundreds of classes with thousands of students, and someone will STILL come up with a manifestation of eg Venus combined with Saturn or Mercury combined with Neptune, which you have never before come across or thought of.
I love astrology for the help it has given me (and countless other people who are willing to look within and try to be honest about themselves) in understanding the quirks and complexities, the gifts and pains of my personality and life pattern. My studies began as the next step in a lifelong quest to prove that our existence has some meaning, that we are not just butterflies randomly pinned to the board of fate, that we are each here because we have something unique to contribute to the Big Picture. Astrology has provided me with that proof. For that, and to that unbroken line of students and practitioners of our great art stretching right back to those ancient Chaldeans on their watchtowers, I will be forever grateful.
800 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2010
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page
13 thoughts on “Six things I love about astrology (for World Astrology Day 21.3.10)”
Hello Ann – I loved your examples of how literal astrology can be! (In fact I shall have fun thinking of ones of my own). 🙂
I too value astrology for the insight and understanding it has given me – and the depth of it! I am still amazed by it and still uncovering new insights and realisations.
Why not put up your own list?
Anne, thanks for another amazing share! World Astrology Day is a great time for people to compare and contrast their birth stories into astrology. I told mine on The Radical Virgo in the post, “The Gene for Astrology,” http://radicalvirgo.blogspot.com/2009/04/gene-for-astrology.html. While that sounds like I came from a long line of astrologers–not true! I came to astrology through a loud call by spirit.
Adopted as an infant, by my late 30s, I finally got the call (more like a scream) to find my birth parents. My paternal lineage is from the Greek Island of Kos (home of Aesclepius and his healing temple)–the place astrology was transferred from East to West. No one in my biological family ever became an astrologer, yet something in my genetic code resonated to the sacred connection between my once unknown homeland and the stars. I was the relative no one knew existed till decades later, yet I manifested the astrology linked to the Fatherland. Here I am and have been since my first class circa 1981. In 1994, I attended a week-long school on Kos with Nick Campion and Michael Baigent, a journey that had my name on it and that astrological history in it!
I love astrology for all the same reasons as you do, especially the multiplicity of insights that never stop revealing themselves. Another reason: It’s in the blood, even if in my case it’s more literal than it is with some others. Once bitten, you are an astrologer. Oops! My 1/4 Hungarian blood from Transylvania creeps in.) Astrologer is your identity. It’s a way you see the world, a psycho-spiritual orientation.
I’ve tried to put it on the back burner and block it out of my life. I was laughably unsuccessful for any length of time. I came back as an astrology blogger after a six-year hiatus much to my surprise. I thought I had nothing left to say and found out I’d only just begun to expound.
What a great workshop that would make at a future astrology conference, except that we’d get nothing else done. I envision it like a big pajama party, where we’d be up all night making popcorn and ssharing how we got enchanted. There’s no midnight clock tolling that turns you back into a “regular” person. An astrologer is forever … and I feel both joy and privileged for that tap of the magic wand!
I love this story of yours – especially about the paternal link with Kos – and I’m sure my readers will too. I’m off to click that link!
Thanks for reminding me Anne of the way I also first discovered astrology. I was very much a left-brained, logical, rational person, and evaluated the world solely through scientific means (small world!). Then a friend (without me asking or being even remotely interested) bought me Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs. Even though my ego reacted against reading this book because it didn’t fit in with the belief system I subscribed to at the time, I read it because a friend had bought it for me. After doing so, I was baffled. How could a woman in America (Linda Goodman) peer deeply into my soul and know the true me? Having a very curious mind, I had to solve this mystery. And here I am 30 years later, still growing and trying to solve the mystery. My latest project is Chiron. I believe Chiron has as much to do with astrology as Uranus. After all, Chiron taught astrology to the young gods – he was an astrology teacher. He is ‘wholistic’ in nature. He links the right, subconscious side of the brain up with the rational left side, and takes us into deeper dimensions of Spirit. I favour the theory that he also rules Virgo, because there are two distinct types of Virgo. One is charismatic and outgoing (eg Sean Connery, Jack Black, Michael Jackson, Freddie Mercury, Sophia Loren etc) and the other is the fastidious, more timid ‘cave dweller’. Chiron also brings a fully dimensional, wholistic side to the more conventional, left-brain Virgo type of healthcare that tries to fix a health problem after it has occurred without looking at the deeper spiritual cause of the problem. And, after all, Chiron is the ‘wounded healer’ (health). I’m getting off topic here, but I just wanted to say thanks Anne for the depth that your writing inspires in people.
thank you very much for this long and thoughtful comment, which can virtually qualify as a post in its own right! I really have appreciated your recent responses to all three of my sites and hope to continue to hear from you. If you haven’t already found Joyce Mason and her site The Radical Virgo, you can get there easily by clicking on her name in the comment above yours. Joyce can truly be called an in-depth Chiron researcher and specialist and I am sure you’d both have much to gain by talking to each other. Your comments on Virgo’s dual rulership have certainly given me food for thought since I am in ‘cave dweller’ mode myself these days! And I suggested to Joyce recently that an anthology of essays on ‘How I came to astrology’ would make fascinating reading. Any volunteers for editor out there??!!
Thanks Neeti! Just to let you know also that I am giving you a link on my “Jupiter meets Uranus” site – http://jupitermeetsuranus.wordpress.com/ – set up to promote my book of that name, but also to reflect on the upcoming Jupiter/Uranus conjunctions in 2010/11. Do check out the link and strapline, to make sure you are ok with how I have described you and your excellent site.
Spring greetings from Scotland!
Thank you for the link and the lovely description, Anne. http://jupitermeetsuranus.wordpress.com/ shall go on my blog soon!
You are most welcome, Neeti! And thanks for adding http://jupitermeetsuranus.wordpress.com/ to your list.
My beloved sister Anne gently pointed me in the direction of Astrology 18 years ago. I was away for long periods as a merchant navy captain and was going through a really tough time in our family and my personal life. I needed a sense of meaning to try to make some sense of my emotional pain, not to mention fill some of the long days on open water.
Astrology has left me with an absolute feeling of a sense of spiritual and emotional connection to everything,a huge comfort and a deep feeling that despite times of pain and difficulty, our lives are not random and meaningless.
Beautifully written Annie !
Love and see you for a coffee very soon !
Thanks bro!It was a great pleasure to have your company on my astro-journey for so long. And we still talk astro-speak to this day….coffee on me this week. Love Annie x