I recently came across this excellent article by Alexandra Karacostas concerning what astrology is. Enjoy!
What is astrology? Frequently I am asked if I “believe” in astrology and if I think we have “free will.” Or if we are “predestined.” By way of response, I usually begin by clarifying a few possible misconceptions.
Astrology is neither a religion nor a faith. It is a symbolic, archetypal language used to understand the world at large as well as the world within. It is the study of nature’s celestial cycles from the universal to the minute.
When describing the connection between the heavens and earth, the micro and the macro, astrologers say: “As within, so without.” And “as above, so below.”
Astrology is framed by both the motion of the sun and planets, and other objects of our solar system, and their context against the celestial backdrop. In short, astrology uses the relative positions of the heavenly bodies as a mirror to reveal the stage upon which we, individually and collectively, act. Until the seventeenth century, astrology and astronomy were essentially the same science. By noting and observing the cycles of planets, or “wandering travelers” as the ancient Greeks referred to them, astronomers/astrologers were able to identify and document specific patterns in the heavens. Thus, they began to correlate certain kinds of patterns or phenomena to particular events relevant in daily life.
The most obvious is the daily cycle commencing with the sunrise and ending at sunset. One of the most useful cycles since ancient times correlates to the moon’s cycle. It was used extensively for planting crops, commencing wars, predicting weather patterns and more. In fact, today it is still used by many for some of the same reasons.
Each one of us is unique! Even if twins are born within a minute of each other the likelihood of them experiencing and responding to life in the same fashion is unlikely. The key differences lie in an individual’s experience and ensuring choice or response to specific events. Though the timing of particular events in the twins’ lives will undoubtedly be closely linked, their individual reactions from moment to moment will determine separate outcomes.
It is how we use our innate qualities that is significant. In other words, our choices fulfil our potentials. We all get what we need, not what we want, especially when it comes to personal and collective growth!
The late Dane Rudhyar, a highly-respected philosopher, author and the grandfather of modern astrology wrote, “Events do not happen to us, we happen to events”. Though this idea may be a bit esoteric, he captures well what modern science is now discovering through quantum physics. It is the connection of all things at the quantum level that explains the ability of far flung objects, like a human being and an asteroid or galaxy to influence each other.
In order to exercise free will there must be a context within which to function. This context is revealed and articulated in astrological charts, or maps. Our horoscope does not MAKE us who we are. It is simply a reflection of our own unique potentials and capacities. What makes us who we are is comprised of genetic heredity, our socio-economic and educational background, our cultural and ethnic roots, etc… In a horoscope, an astrologer can identify family patterns and dynamics, inherited strengths and weaknesses. What we do with those is up to us, our empowerment lies in choice. This is where consciousness, awareness and self-knowledge is critical to our destiny!
Limits and Boundaries
Another one of my favorite astrological sayings is “our character is our destiny.” It is unrealistic to think that an apple seed will grow up to become an orange tree. We all have natural limits and boundaries! As a human, for example, we can only consider how to nurture ourselves as a human, not as something else. And the same follows for an individual amongst many, or a country amongst nations. All entities have their unique potentials, capacities, and limits. Our empowerment lies in choice. And astrology is a tool that helps us to become informed.
We often hear that “timing is everything”. Knowing what phase of a cycle we are currently in can be greatly advantageous. Opportunities come and go, but unless we personally reach out and grab them, they simply pass us by. We can benefit in various ways by more fully comprehending our journey towards authenticity, in becoming who we really are. The symbolic language of astrology is a tool that can help us do just that.
There are numerous types of astrology used today. There is Natal astrology which deals with the individual. Mundane astrology explores national, international and economic cycles. Meteorological astrology is used to study weather patterns and cataclysmic events. Electional astrology helps us determine the best time to initiate a project. Financial astrology concerns itself with macro and micro economic cycles. Relocation astrology helps us identify what particular qualities in us are highlighted by relocating to different geographical locations. There are others as well, and as our world and universe expands we continually discover new ways to apply this body of information and wisdom.
So what does this mean for YOU? What is going on in your life? For everything there is a place and a time and, as nature would have it, a sequence to how life unfolds. I invite you to reflect on the cycles, patterns, and habits of your life. How can you increase your awareness, fulfil your creative potential, and refine your relationship to the world? You can “paint” your life with the strokes of choice, to fully become the magnificent being you are!
About the author Alexandra Karacostas
Alexandra Karacostas is a professional astrologer, teacher, and writer based in Chico, California. She has been a student of astrology since 1975. Alexandra currently serves on the board of OPA, the Organization for Professional Astrology. Contact her at http://www.WisdomAstrology.com or e-mail AlexandraKaracostas@yahoo.com