Thursday, October 4, 2007

Enlightenment through Astrology

Miniture Marigolds in bloom September 2006
Astrology is a language of metaphor and symbolism and can be understood best as a tool for self-reflection and inspiration. Its foundation sits firmly on the universal idea that everything is connected, relative and interdependent with the circumstances that create them. Therefore, the knowledge of Astrology begins with the Macrocosm of the solar system and points directly to the inner world of your own psyche.

Your experience of life begins with a child's openness and ability to merge with the whole of humanity. But soon, as you begin to learn about your environment, you pick up clues that the world isn't always what it seems. You quickly loose that child's openness the moment you experience the lessons of pain, deprivation and suffering. You can easily become fixated upon the notion that certain things, like family, are permanent and that change seems out of your control.

The careful observer will of course understand these are illusions and that all things change and interact interdependently with everything else. A scientist will describe this as the law of cause and effect: every action causes an equal and opposite reaction. Other people call this karma, but whatever you call it, it is really just the idea that nothing is permanent and everything affects everything else.

So, when things change that you think of being permanent, your realization may come as a nasty shock. You may become angry and upset when things don't meet your expectations. You may react negatively, but doing so emphasizes the gap between reality and your expectation. Stepping back from this state, you may come to understand you are attached to a belief that everything is isolated and permanent, and grasping at these illusory beliefs only confirms your experiences of pain and frustration.

Albert Einstein is attributed to have once defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results." Grasping at beliefs that you know are false, even when they are convenient or form a foundation for unrealistic expectations, will eventually lead to a life of quiet desperation and unhappiness. Astrology, being based on the notion of change, can be a way to reflect and analyze your behavior, learning through self-awareness to open yourself to new unexplored potentials.

Despite popular yet mistaken beliefs about it involving prediction and fortune telling, Astrology can only emphasize the influences of the present and point to how these change in the future. Prediction can only be developed from looking at the past and judging how human nature in the present may play out in the future. So what is contained in your birth chart isn't really what is important, that only represents the basis that you've built your personality upon. What is important is who you are now and how you project the knowledge that is found in past of your birth chart on the influences of the future. What you do now has more of an effect your present than where you began your life or where it will end.

Memories are important to Astrology in that they contain the life lessons that shaped who you are today. For example, if your daddy spanked you as a child, then you know not to trust and to withhold your love from those who hurt you, especially those in authoritarian positions, which can further determine how you socialize in the world. Likewise, if your mama worked outside the home you may feel that you are not worthy unless you contribute to the financial well being of your family, also determining your work ethic and ability to meet your family's needs. While these are somewhat complex assumptions they are supported by psychological profiling, which is a direction Western Astrology has been leaning for several decades now.

Life lessons, though, are not an immediate knowledge; they develop over time with the accumulation of positive and negative experience. These can be developed through therapy with a psychologist or psychiatrist, meeting with an astrologer, talking to a spiritual or religious authority or developing a personal philosophy of one's own. Organic wisdom allows you to reflect on events of your life and transform them into a realization of self-compassion and personal enlightenment. Applying self-wisdom in a skillful manner can lead eventually to the beneficial experiences of happiness, liberty, love, empathy and deeper wisdom.

Why get upset when life forces seem against you? Patience is essential, especially with interpersonal experiences; but applying self-knowledge skillfully allows you a chance to change things to your benefit. Developing external wisdom leads to inner insight; inner wisdom generates greater freedom. Self knowledge reflects on past experiences, recognizing the growth process and interdependence of your own identity. Eventually the irrational reactions and responses that are self-detrimental will slow and then stop. And that is when you wake up and realize it is good to be alive.

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