Listening to the Story

The true art of the astrologer

by Hank Friedman

Many people think that the way to read a chart is by analysis, i.e. to mentally decipher the symbols, placements, and inter-relationships depicted in the horoscope. But if, in fact, astrology is a reflection of the Divine Order and one's personal life journey, then a quiet mind might do much better than a busy one in understanding the messages in a chart.

We need, of course, to have a thorough understanding of the chart elements. In fact, one so complete that the symbols no longer need to be studied, but instead simply watched as they dance with each other. And we can only attain such mastery through diligent study. But like the ice skater or painter or sky diver who has developed an instinctive and implicit fluency in their craft, the flying astrologer no longer needs a net; they can soar and glide on the currents of the chart without deliberacy or control.

In the same way that we can listen to another person deeply, receive them so clearly and without distraction that we lose all self-reflection, so we can immerse ourselves in a person's chart and hear what it wants to tell us.

And amazingly, even if we've seen a chart dozens of times already, it will share different messages each time, if we are open to hearing them with a beginner's mind.

And so my process of preparing for a chart reading always involves three distinctive steps:

First, I study the details and patterns and commit them to memory (not as a labor but as an embrace), both the natal structures and the current cycles and events.

Then I take a mental step back and listen carefully to the heartbeat of the chart and its unfolding themes, and watch the connections be born.

Finally, I place the sheets aside and sit quietly and let my unconscious mind digest all of this and prepare for the main event.

When I sit with the client, I surrender and let the flow begin, both by receiving the questions and themes presented to me by them, and by receiving them directly. The session quickly becomes alive and takes us where it would.

I'm reminded of several quotes:

"The conscious mind is very intelligent, but the unconscious mind is a lot smarter." Milton Erickson

"You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star." Friedrich Nietzsche

"If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything, it is open to everything. In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

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