Does astrology wound as well as heal?

It is important at this point to emphasise to readers who are familiar only with Sun Signs that to get ‘beyond the Sun Signs’ requires an individual’s horoscope to be drawn up for the date, place AND time of birth. Human beings are complex and contradictory. It’s not possible to approach any satisfying symbolic exploration of that complexity through the Sun or Star Sign alone.

Astrology itself neither heals nor wounds. Having  arisen aeons ago from attempts to create a meaningful context to human life through observation of the physical movements of the planets in the heavens, whether such a framework is experienced as wounding or healing is heavily predicated upon the attitude of the individuals who choose to use it:

“The fault, dear Brutus, is  not  in our stars,
But in ourselves, that  we are underlings.”

(W.Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene 2)

Zodiac

Zodiac

It is easy enough to talk about the positive healing benefits of an astrological framework, providing as it does a major defence against meaninglessness and insignificance. Feeling connected at a personal level to loved ones and friends is recognised as a major factor in promoting and maintaining physical, emotional and mental health and happiness.

Feeling connected at a more cosmic level lets us see that  we are not random accidents in time and space, but threads in the weave of a greater pattern – very small threads perhaps, but contributors nevertheless. This awareness promotes a sense of spiritual well being.

There is also the sheer fun, excitement and intellectual discovery which the study of astrology brings.

Every bright light, however, has a dark shadow; in the promethean nature of our art  lies its shadow too. It is all very well to steal the gods’ fire, as Prometheus did, with the noble intention of  liberating humanity from some of its bonds with the powerful enlightenment which that fire brings.

But fire burns. It is impossible to light up the darkness of our human limitations of perception, without the hand that holds the illuminating fire being burned by it. It’s not so easy to talk about that. But it does less than justice, in exploring the impact of the astrological model on human consciousness, to concentrate on the healing aspects of the interaction,  whilst glossing over the wounding dimensions. Exposure to the model brings both.

I  always attempted to restore a sense of perspective on this issue by pointing out to my astrology  students that for the whole of human history most of humanity has managed to stagger through life without the benefit of astrological knowledge.

On one occasion, I asked a small group of my  tutorial students, who had studied and practised for long enough to experience both the light and the shadow facets of our great art, to write something about its healing and wounding dimensions. I was delighted by the honesty and perceptiveness of their feedback. Here is what Charlotte, 35 at the time of my asking, had to say.

Charlotte

(not her real name – data withheld for confidentiality)

 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”.

This is one person’s vivid perspective on the implications of knowing her natal horoscope. I’d be interested to have comments on this issue from my readers.

Zodiac

Zodiac

******

1000 words copyright Anne Whitaker/”Charlotte” 2014
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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22 responses to “Does astrology wound as well as heal?

  1. Excellent article; it speaks for me. And with a twisted smile on my face, the author’s following statement validates my life journey: “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.” What does one do? One presses onward! 🙂

    • Well, Leslie, as a child of Saturn/Pluto myself – and writing about it this very week for my column – I too have had a ‘just pressing onward’ often with gritted teeth, life journey. However, to date, I don’t feel I’ve done too badly in rising positively to that most intimidating aspect’s challenges. A gallows sense of humour helps a lot, I find!

  2. Because I’m pretty much ignorant of astrology and in some ways not inclined toward it, I can have a hard time with pieces like this. But a step backward always reveals a truth, and there’s one I recognize here: tools are neutral, neither good nor evil in themselves. It’s the use that makes the difference. The same hammer that drives the nail can crush a skull: we are the ones who determine the use.

    It seems as though the same must be true when it comes to astrology. As a tool for self-understanding, it’s neither magic nor mechanistic. All depends on understanding the nature of the tool, and choosing the use it for good.
    Now and then, a thumb may get smashed by a hammer that’s building a house, but that doesn’t mean we have to toss away the hammer!

    • Many thanks for your usual clarity, Linda! What you say about all tools is absolutely true. When using and applying the insights of an art as penetrating as astrology can be, it is very very important to be highly aware of how damaging and negative its use could be, as well as lauding its revelatory and potentially healing capacity.

  3. Hi never happy with my sagitarius sun sign = did not feel like me. read vedic astrology find I am a scorpio.This explains more to me about my life journey. So why the difference between western and vedic. Oh i am in my sadi sadi period 7 years! =Saturn return.

  4. Reblogged this on Astrology: Questions and Answers and commented:

    This is a topic I don’t see addressed much in astrological circles. What are YOUR thoughts?

  5. I can relate. I have been an astrologer for 30 years and it is an important framework for me…but…I am a Libra with Taurus rising con Algol, and my Venus is square saturn in the 7th. My moon is in Aries and my Mars in Gemini rising is square Pluto con IC. Blimey. The cards were well and truly stacked against me…I knew it before I studied astrology, but seeing it in black and white was both a comfort and also quite depressing. Like, this is my fate, and I’ve been dealt a particularly heavy one and it really isn’t fair (and Librans do like ‘fair’!). And the fact that I know I never really ever get a good transit…if it conjuncts something in my chart, it squares something else and constantly triggers the patterns that are there. But mostly it is good to have the framework, and feel i have some understanding of what is happening. The other drawback is that sometimes I feel quite lonely. I live in an area where there are no active astrologers, and if it wasn’t for the internet i would have no interaction at all. It would be nice to not feel so isolated in my belief

  6. Hi Clare, many thanks for dropping by and for your very honest comment. With five planets including an exact Saturn/Pluto conjunction in the Twelfth House, I can truly empathise with you. I don’t so much have transits, as meltdowns! However, like my student and like you, I’d rather have the perspective that astrology has given me than not…

  7. I enjoyed reading this again, Anne — and I still agree with my original comment, which is interesting. It occurs to me that a value of blog discussions, one which I never have seen discussed, is the way they preserve for us our own past opinions. It’s fun to go back a year or five and think, “Yes, I still believe that,” or “What in the world was I thinking?”

    • Thanks, Linda! Yes, it is indeed interesting delving into the Back Catalogue…and via the Facebook Page I seem to be finding a whole new audience which is just great. Maybe you should think about sharing your brilliant writing via Facebook? If you are careful how you use it, and with whom you agree to be Friends, the whole experience can prove most positive. It certainly has done, in my case…

      • I’m glad it’s been a good experience for you, but the reasons to stay away still outweight the reasons to engage — at least, for me.

      • I appreciate that – but, never say never!

        I was very moved by your recent poem about mourning – so busy catching up at present after being away on family business for nearly two weeks that I have not had the reflective time to compose a response. But I will.

  8. As a Sagittarian I never resonated with the signs commonly quoted traits of religion, travel and sport. Then when I started to study Astrology seriously I realised that the restless quest for meaning was indeed very Sagittarian as indeed is the faith that there is something that gives our existence meaning. I am forever grateful to whatever chance (if you believe it chance) that brought Astrology into my life. In the early days of learning I was always searching for answers to life’s difficulties but some years down the line I now realise as Charlotte said that it is not a wounding or a healing art but one of enlightenment via the journey to fulfil your purpose as shown by the natal chart. Acceptance of your part in dealing with your life purpose is perhaps the hardest part and Astrology is an amazing key to help you do so.

  9. There is also some very interesting discussion on this topic, between me and various thoughtful commenters, on my Astrology: Questions and Answers Facebook Page, from when this post appeared there on 4.5.16. Do drop by and have a read!
    https://www.facebook.com/Astrology-Questions-and-Answers-381046495339417/.

  10. Thank you Anne for this article. Having worked for many years both with Astrological Psychology (Huber/APA) and Psychosynthesis, the expectations and awareness about astrology has challenged me. This is very helpful! Best wishes, Maggie

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