Astrology as a healing and a wounding art 2: the student/practitioner’s view

Please click on link to read the first article in this series of 3:

‘Astrology as a healing and a wounding art 1’

Part Two: From art to actual life – the student / practitioner’ s view

In further pursuing the exploration which my chance encounter with Lisa had begun, I asked my ongoing students for their comments. I was particularly keen to receive feedback from those in my monthly study/supervision group who had been students and practitioners for seven to eight years or more, feeling that they would have a more rounded perspective to offer, based on going through many different stages in their relationship with astrology.

They were asked to reflect on the healing and wounding aspects of working within the astrological model, from the viewpoint of the impact their involvement had had on their personal lives.

Here is their feedback which I found rich, eloquent and varied.

1) – Marie (52) –

Marie's Horoscope
Marie's Horoscope

“I came to astrology when you read my chart in May ‘87. Suddenly, after twenty one years, old pain I had partly buried, partly learned to live with, resurfaced.  I had to come to terms with it,  heal it, if I were to live with myself.  I had had a difficult time when I was nineteen.   At the time of the consultation, Uranus was squaring the Uranus of those events in 1966, and Pluto was conjunct my Chiron –  for me, astrology has always been a healing tool.

More recently, it helped me through the period of my father’s death in 1993 by enabling me to detach and accept by understanding the process.The Uranus/ Neptune conjunction was exact, squaring his 19 Libra sun. At the moment of his heart attack, the Ascendant was exactly conjunct my natal Chiron; Mercury was squaring my Chiron when he died.

For me, astrology is an invaluable tool. I trust more now in my own intuition, especially where the timing of events is concerned. I think we all subconsciously know when the time is right to take a decision, make a phone call, accept an offer or whatever. I   regularly run up charts for significant moments and find the Ascendant reveals the flavour of the moment, the Moon the timing of the event, Mars the motivating force underlying it and Mercury often literally brings the message.

An interesting example of this is when I began to realise that the house I lived in was playing a part in my healing process.  Being convinced of the significance of certain moments in time, I ran up a chart for the exact moment my husband and I  entered the house for the first time as owners.  It was Hallowe’en 1984 and the sun was at 8 Scorpio conjunct my Chiron.  Not only that, the house’s Chiron was conjunct my Moon and Node at 7 Gemini, the Moon was on my Ascendant and Venus on my MC.  Even more incredible, the Ascendant of the house chart was 29 Cancer 27, which turned out to be the Jupiter of  W.G. Morton, the artist who had  had it built in 1912 – his Jupiter was 29 Cancer 30 !   Morton’s  ghost haunted the house ; I   felt I could help him let go and move on.  My Pluto at 11 Leo is exactly conjunct his Moon and IC at 10 and 11 Leo.

These amazing synchronicities prove to me how finely tuned our lives are, and what a gift astrology is in helping me interpret the meaning of my life, face up to the dark side of my nature and co-operate as best I can with transits as they ebb and flow.

We don’t always get what we expect. My Mum’s Sun, Venus and Mars are at 2,6 and10 Sagittarius respectively.  With Pluto crossing these degrees and also opposing my Moon Node conjunction at 7 Gemini, I was scared I was going to lose her.  She is 84 ; when I looked ahead to these Pluto transits, it seemed a likely outcome. I’m sure you would agree that  projecting fear onto upcoming transits is one of the most obvious facets of the wounding side of astrology…….

However, as Pluto stripped away all that was unnecessary in her life, she began to give away her money and her jewelry and to talk about her death in a very matter-of-fact way. How  could she see us enjoy our inheritance if she’d gone?  Better still, she began for the first time in my life to tell me she loved me and  was proud of me, words I had waited for all my life. I no longer live in fear of her death, but accept all our time together now as a bonus.  During this period, Chiron was also busy. On the day she gave me , out of the blue, a large sum of money, Chiron was 2 Sagittarius ,conjunct  her sun, and the IC of the moment!

I can only sum up by saying that whenever I feel I’m stumbling around in the dark, astrology restores my faith in life by reconnecting me to a sense of meaning  and purpose.”

2) – Andrea (39) –

Andrea's Horoscope
Andrea's Horoscope

On the whole, I’ve been very lucky with the astrologers I’ve met. Almost all have been good people, good astrologers and have definitely helped me on my way. From a personal viewpoint, astrology has helped me to open my heart and my soul to a way of being centred on self-acceptance and love; I’m not sure I would have managed that otherwise. I’ve learned to treat myself with a bit more sympathy and understanding – and hopefully treat other people the same way. My experience of astrology has opened me to the deeper mysteries of life – even if I can’t put that into words or fully understand it, I know it’s there. That’s such a healing experience, because the sense of awe makes me want to try harder to be responsible for my life, to live it in a positive way.

Having said all that, for a while I didn’t look at the Ephemeris or any astrology. Partly, the reason for that is that astrology can turn me away from my own life. That seems a complete contradiction to what I’ve just said.

Maybe, for me, this is the wounded/wounding side of astrology  – being so busy reading astrology, looking at charts, thinking about aspects, looking at planets, transits, progressions, or midpoints meant I was too busy to live my life in the present – I would be thinking about the past or looking to the future.

Recently, when looking at my transits, (which I hadn’t looked at  for  months) I had a sharp intake of breath as I saw Saturn, Chiron, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and progressed Moon all triggering off planets in my natal chart. The sense of trepidation  was almost overwhelming. I have to work hard to just meet life as it comes. For me, that’s a real challenge – astrology can help me to be more aware, but I have to resist the urge to think I know what it means before I get there.”

3) – Charlotte (35) –

Charlotte's Horoscope
Charlotte's Horoscope

I’ve never really been asked to consider the wounding aspects of astrology in such a direct way before. I did have a bit of a job focusing on the question without the more positive aspects coming up all the time! I think the serious study of astrology knocked me out of the idyllic vision I had had of my family background. I had to accept that my parents weren’t perfect, and the overall effect of this was enlightening but also disappointing. It kind of knocked me into the real world and showed me things as they were which I found quite hard to come to terms with.

Seeing things in black and white on the astrological chart  led to a lot of resentment on my part, raising a lot of difficult questions which I’m still working hard to understand. I think this can sometimes sidetrack me and stop me getting on with things, and lead to some disasters which might not have occurred otherwise – although I would say I do have a natural tendency to analyse things anyway. Astrology just provides more scope for this.

There is also the question “ why me? Why did I have to have this chart?” which may be quite childish, but did lead at one time to some resentment at the apparent unfairness of it all. Especially when you are grappling with hard Pluto and Saturn aspects. You know you have your work cut out for you, and that life is not going to be easy. The prospect of living your life with these aspects can be quite daunting and depressing, and lead to a lot of despondency at times.

Another factor that’s hard to take on board is that you are responsible for yourself. You can’t go around blaming other people for your misfortunes all the time. You have to take responsibility for your part in the drama. It’s your stuff, and you’re the only one who can deal with it. This can lead to a lot of self criticism on my part, and a good deal of depression if things aren’t working out.

Looking at  it from a promethean point of view, Prometheus stole fire from the gods. He knew he would suffer for it, but he also, I think, knew on some intuitive level that he was doing the right thing. And in the end he was released from his suffering. Personally, I couldn’t not know. Otherwise I wouldn’t have pursued the subject as long as I have. I just hope it works out for me in the end too. “

4) – Alice (35) –

Alice's Horoscope
Alice's Horoscope

“ My first experience with ‘real’ as opposed to ‘Sun Sign’ astrology was at night school. My birth chart was not what I had expected. I was a true Sagittarian, adventurous, lucky, fun loving and optimistic, wasn’t I ? Oh yes – I was pleased with my grand trine in fire. That made sense; but a meek, mild, service-seeking Virgo ascendant was not exactly me. Oh well, I suppose I could come across that way to some people.

Then I see it – a small black glyph sitting right on top of my Ascendant. It must be a mistake. I feel like scrubbing it  out. I don’t want Pluto there on my lovely chart. I’m nothing like a Scorpion type – moody, emotional, secretive, jealous, controlling. My Venus sitting smugly in Capricorn does not enhance my frame of mind. I take small consolation from hearing it is earthy and loyal. I feel cheated, and continue to long for Venus in Taurus.

Gradually over the term, astrology stripped me of my pre-conceptions of myself, and left me exposed to the facts. I could no longer carry on in blissful denial of the deeper, darker side of my nature.

A significant  turning point came when I was asked to explain the types of things which had been happening to me, since I was experiencing my Saturn return at that point. I couldn’t explain. I hadn’t a clue what was going on. Where did I start? My teacher then summarised, in a couple of minutes, the way I had been feeling and how it was all part of a process. The light had been switched on. It was an amazing experience. I felt understood, accepted, and not alone.

The more I learned about  the interacting energies within my chart, the more I could accept myself and stop having to put on an act. The energy I had previously been using to keep Pluto well at bay, could now be directed towards more constructive pursuits. I felt freed. The healing had begun.”

to be continued

1900 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2009
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page