“SIX THOUSAND YEARS AGO, WHEN THE HUMAN MIND WAS STILL HALF ASLEEP, CHALDEAN PRIESTS WERE STANDING ON THEIR WATCHTOWERS, SCANNING THE STARS.”
( from The Sleepwalkers by Arthur Koestler )
I love knowing that the rational, mythical, symbolic and empirical art of astrology has been around for at least six thousand years. Our increasing contemporary awareness of the interconnectedness of all things was well known in antiquity: the ancient maxim “As above, so below” still applies. Astrologers operate on the margins of our fragmenting, reductionist culture. But we represent an unbroken line to a time which in many ways was wiser than ours is now. Being a tiny thread in that weave gives me a deep sense of pride, connectedness and rootedness.
I love being able to look out at the night sky, seeing the beauty of the lunar cycle and the visible planets in their ever changing, ever repeating patterns, knowing that being an astrologer offers one the privilege of perceiving not only astronomy but also symbolic meaning out there.
I can still recall the exhilaration I felt on a freezing cold, clear night in January 1986 on a visit to the Outer Hebrides. My brother, a Merchant Navy captain, was able to point out Saturn to me – the first time I had ever seen that venerable planet with the naked eye. Saturn’s meaning was also present that night; we were on our way back from the wake for an old uncle who had just died.
I love the fact that I started out as a dismisser of our ancient art, and ended up its devoted practitioner – having set out to confront my embarrassment at the inexplicable fascination I had developed for a subject which I considered to be beneath my intellectual consideration! This is the typical position of ignorance combined with arrogance from which many people dismiss astrology, not realising there is a subject of great depth and power beyond the Sun Signs of astrology’s public face.
I embarked on a course of study with the Faculty of Astrological Studies in the early 1980s – to prove to myself through study rather than ignorant dismissal that there was nothing in astrology – and have kept up an unbroken interest since then for over 30 years. If you want to read the strange story of how my astrological career began in a launderette in Bath, England, UK, check out the link below!
I love how literal astrology can be. Saturn met Neptune in November 1989 and the Berlin Wall came down. There was a Jupiter Uranus conjunction in Libra in July 1969 when a huge co-operative effort of unique scientific endeavour put the first human on the Moon. The day Pluto first went into Sagittarius in January 1995, there was a massive earthquake in Japan and the city of Kobe went up in flames. At that same time, John Paul, the best-travelled Pope ever, preached to an open air audience of over a million people in Manila in the Philippines.
To lower the tone somewhat, I was having lunch with a bank manager friend of mine on the day Saturn turned retrograde on my Scorpio IC. For no apparent reason (being sober at the time!) I passed out, just as another bank manager and friend of my friend was passing the restaurant window. They both ended up carting me home between them.
I love the impossibility of ever getting on top of, or to the end of, one’s astrological studies. I have never applied myself to eg Chinese or Hindu astrology, not yet feeling I have enough of a grasp of the Western tradition into which I was born….and you can do hundreds or thousands of horoscope readings, teach hundreds of classes with thousands of students, and someone will STILL come up with a manifestation of eg Venus combined with Saturn or Mercury combined with Neptune, which you have never before come across or thought of.
I love astrology for the help it has given me (and countless other people who are willing to look within and try to be honest about themselves) in understanding the quirks and complexities, the gifts and pains of my personality and life pattern. My studies began as the next step in a lifelong quest to prove that our existence has some meaning, that we are not just butterflies randomly pinned to the board of fate, that we are each here because we have something unique to contribute to the Big Picture.
Astrology has provided me with that proof. For that, and to that unbroken line of students and practitioners of our great art stretching right back to those ancient Chaldeans on their watchtowers, I will be forever grateful.
800 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2016
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page
Great article, Anne! Every time I look at a chart of someone I know, my heart opens and I feel great empathy for what they have to navigate, regardless of the extent of challenges. Astrology as a tool for opening the heart, yet another reason we love it! Also loved your article in the latest Mountain Astrologer this month. Thank you!
Reblogged this on Lost Dudeist Astrology.
Many thanks, Grandtrines! Glad you liked the article.
Many thanks Pam, both for your generous comments about the value of astrology to you, and for your affirming of my Mary Shelley/Frankenstein article. I was so happy to have the 200th anniversary of Mary’s great – and prophetic – achievement honoured by TMA.
Via Facebook A;Q & A Page: 21.3.16, from Evelyn Herbertz :
I love astrology because it helps me understand people which makes me more compassionate. If someone talks too much, I say to myself, she/he must have an afflicted Mercury or maybe they have a Gemini Sun and Moon. I also find it fascinating to do charts of family members which helps me figure out why this particular group of people came back to be together to work out their Karma.
Many thanks for this thoughtful reply, Evelyn!
Via Facebook A;Q & A Page: 21.3.16, from Daphni Astley:
I love astrology cos it’s so VERY, VERY HUGE that it makes me feel so very, very small….& yet, small & insignificant as I am, it lets the heavens bend down and speak to me – which always blows me away!!
Thanks, Daphni – love this feedback! Will add to the post comments on my blog..
Via Facebook A;Q & A Page: 21.3.16, from Margo Cline:
I love astrology because it keeps me in tune with cosmic energies moving through the zeitgeist. I feel like I am part of the celestial dance and privy to understanding that few people really come to know. It’s a very special club and I am so grateful to have studied this ancient symbolic language.
Many thanks, Margo. Gracefully and elegantly expressed!
Via Facebook A;Q & A Page: 21.3.16, from Debe De Stefano:
I love how astrology makes me realize how connected we all are in a collective universal way. Must be my Aquarius moon.
Yes, Debe – as does quantum physics, which talks in scientific language about that vast energy field from which everything arises, to which all returns. It’s such a pity that so many scientists deride astrology from a reductionist perspective, not realising that both astrologers and scientists are talking about the same Ground…
Not only does astrology provide useful guidance to those willing to listen, it offers hope that situations will improve with time and how to make the best of those situations during the down times. Anne, I strongly believe you are providing a wonderful service in the world, one that dates back to ancient times. Astrology has stood the test of time and continues to be a popular science. That says a lot about the subject. Happy World Astrology Day!
Bev, many many thanks for your affirmation both of our great art, and of one small person’s efforts!
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Via Facebook A;Q & A Page: 22.3.16, fromJackie Taylor:
I love astrology because it gives me a perspective on my life. Cycles, trends, I know that whatever’s happening there’s a reason and it will end.
Thanks, Jackie. I also love the perspectives that cycles provide me, my clients and my students. Just finished months of exploration of secondary progressions with my student tutorial group. It was wonderfully affirmative of the very point you make!
Via Facebook A;Q & A Page: 22.3.16, from Alex Staton:
I find the belief astrology can make accurate predictions a little odd and Eva’s attempt to guess people’s lifespan worrying.
Hi Alex, thanks for commenting! I do not share Eva’s views – but we are a broad church and she is at liberty to offer her perspective. Also, I do not consider astrology to be a belief system – it is one of a number of models through which we can examine the vast energy pattern of which we are all part, and attempt to make some sense of why we are here and what we should do whilst we are. Also – along with many other astrologers – I share the view of leading astrologer Prof Rick Tarnas, who describes astrology as archetypally, but not specifically, predictive…
Via Facebook A:Q & A Page: 27.3.16, from June Lorraine Harrison:
I love astrology because it opens a door on human understanding of our place within the universe giving us insights and pleasure in this human existence.
Using it as a tool in my daily work brings comfort and peace to people reassuring us that we are not alone or insignificant we are the light of the stars and the light of the stars are in us we are the Divine.
Thank you Anne for being the wonderful teacher you are for ensuring that light never dies. Happy Easter the resurrection and the light Jx
And the same to you, June! Many thanks for this poetic affirmation of astrology’s value to us. And for your generous affirmation of my small contribution!