If you’ve read my previous blog posts, you’ve no doubt figured out my bias lies toward a psychological understanding of the birth chart. Astrology is a great tool for understanding people — their strengths, their weaknesses, and their hang-ups.
You’ve also probably figured out that my bias goes against blaming the planets. I agree with the late Donna Cunningham that “. . . our lives are not controlled by things out there, but are shaped by our own thought patterns.”
The planets don’t cause bad things to happen to us. Bad things tend to happen to us because of the self-defeating, neurotic choices we make. Sun in Pisces doesn’t make you an addict. Abusing substances makes you an addict.
When you lose your job or get divorced, it’s easy to blame your horoscope. That’s just a cosmic version of passing the buck.
On the flip side, the planets don’t cause good things to happen to us, either.
The planets represent potential. Drives. Inclination. That makes astrology a great tool for self-analysis. It can point out the ways we cause our own self-fulfillment or self-defeat.
For example, the placement of Mars and the aspects Mars makes to other planets can, in some cases, incline a native to be hyper-aggressive. This can cause problems in group dynamics when they attempt to dominate. Periodic outbursts of rage can adversely affect their relationships. Etc.
Once a pattern of self-defeating behavior is identified, the birth chart can help understand what’s behind it, and that’s the first step to go about changing it.
I wrote a blog entry on why context matters. (Context is Everything)
Most of the cookbook interpretations you’re likely to read online, in books, etc. assume that the client is an adult somewhere in their 20’s to 50’s. That’s a good “golden mean” to aim at for age when you need to write a general-purpose interpretation.
The problem is, not every client is in their 20’s to 50’s. Some are younger. Many are older. These clients deserve a consultation that focuses on their special needs.
Consider a young child. Her parents want a consultation. She’s 5. The context is simply wrong to talk about sexual matters. Yes, there is the occasional child who ends up later marrying someone from their childhood who is eighteen years their senior.
Consider a senior. Someone in their 80’s. Discussions of career should assume less prominence.
Women face an ever-changing, ever more demanding world. While there is overlap between the concerns of men and women, there are also important differences. Our consultations – to be really effective – need to address those differences in a positive, constructive way.
When we adopt a one interpretation “fits all” approach, we force the individual to fit the horoscope. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work. Our role as humanistic astrologers is to fit the horoscope to the individual.
Some clients confuse astrologers and psychics. They assume, once they give us their birth details, we’ll know everything there is to know about them as individuals.
Astrology doesn’t work that way. It’s not a crystal ball.
I can tell you, with near certainty, you have one or more “astrological twins” in the world. Somewhere there are people with birth charts so similar to yours, it makes no practical difference at all. Their lives, also with near certainty, will be very different from yours. The contexts in which your life and theirs unfold will be different.
Another way to think about this, is multiple births. Twins, triplets, etc. They’ll share the same horoscope, except for a degree or two difference on the angles. Do they lead identical lives? No. The contexts of their lives differ.
Horoscopes represent contingent possibilities. Most of the features in our horoscopes become manifest at some point in our lives, as features of our personality, events in our lives, etc. Some, however, do not.
Continue reading “Context Is Everything”