The Wisdom in Astrology
Astrology is used for many purposes: to find lost objects and to answer other questions, to predict upcoming events and make decisions, to assess compatibility with another person or place, to understand one's own patterns, to address and resolve health issues, etc.
The great teacher Attar, one of the enlightened masters in the Sufi tradition, in one of his works states that [predictive] astrology doesn't work. If I understand what he is actually saying, it is that the Divine Presence guides the flow of life, and that the unfolding of the future is not simply a mechanical operation, reflected by planetary positions, but instead the Working of the One.
In other words, one reason why so many astrological predictions fail (after all, how many astrologers have consistently predicted the stock market, weather, or even their own lives accurately?) is that they fail to take into account factors beyond simply astrological ones.
While it is obvious that predicting marriage for a 7 year old is ridiculous, and that with modern medicine and nutrition, predicting death via traditional methods usually fails, it may seem less foolish to predict financial crises, relocations, etc. But every astrologer must be careful to tune in to their client, and really see, and take into account, both who they are talking to and what each person's themes and patterns are.
Every transit, progression, dasa, and return must work within the context of the individual's life. Some people manifest their cycles in disease and health, others in mood changes, still others in financial fluctuations, and others as changes in partnerships, or interests, or travel, or even their automobile's problems, and only occasionally experience cycles affecting other areas.
In addition, the astrologer must ask, will the person let a change happen? Is the flow of the person's life such that a cycle will manifest at all? Is it Time (in accordance with the Divine Will) for this change? Does the person need any particular lessons right now? (In fact, I've often observed that when a person needs a break because they're still digesting their previous lessons, or simply aren't in a place to respond, cycles often do not manifest in any conspicuous way).
In the end, it is the ability of the astrologer to open their intuition to the Truth that enables them to be both accurate and helpful to their clients.
Planetary Lessons and Truly Helping
Perhaps I've focused upon this before, but to truly use astrology to help others, we need to be completely conscious of the effect of our words upon others.
While not all clients will "paint the worst case scenario" from what we tell them, nevertheless we need to be skillful in both interpreting and communicating our insights in a constructive manner. There is no better place to look at than the interpretations of Saturn (and perhaps outer transits).
Saturn has been portrayed as the "bad guy" in astrology, signifying illness, death, depression, fear, loss, suffering, old age, debility, doubt, rigidity, isolation, slowness, blockage, obstacles, heaviness, judgement, strictness, humorlessness, dryness, coldness, restriction, and more.
But these qualities are only a small sample -- and an extreme polarity -- of what Saturn represents. In most people's charts, Saturn enables us to focus, be grounded, respond appropriately, set correct boundaries (e.g. say "No" when it's appropriate), prioritize, discipline ourselves, aim towards a goal, be effective and reliable and efficient, act impeccably, learn from our mistakes, keep track of things, be organized, and keep focused.
While we may indeed learn lessons where Saturn is placed, we learn lessons where every planet is placed!
Jupiter teaches us lessons about excess and exaggeration, whether it be of idealism and faith, or of extravagance and indulgence, or of over-thinking, or over-giving, or over-work.
Venus reminds us that pleasing others (saying "Yes") can be overdone, as can being too oriented towards pleasure, harmony (peace at any price) or beauty (e.g. those who live for image alone).
The Sun makes us look at how important we are in our own lives. Are we too important, only a bit player, center-stage too often, or undervalued?
The Moon mirrors our instinctive and subjective responses and reactions to life, and its placement requires us to become more conscious of how we're acting defensively, automatically, and unconsciously.
Mars reflects how we deal with anger, assertion, impulse, both sexual and physical energy, and interpersonal challenges.
Mercury's position helps us to learn about our own blinders, the baises in our perceptions, beliefs, and orientation.
Uranus represents the degree to which we feel different from others, and how much we like or dislike our uniqueness.
Neptune can indicate what we get lost in, and our escape (or obsessive) patterns.
Finally, Pluto shows whether or not we allow ourselves to have an impact on our lives and the lives of others, and how much power we allow or disallow ourselves and others.
So every planet offers a slew of lessons, and many great gifts too.
We need to both help clients learn how to navigate their specific life lessons, but also to see the blessings of every position in their chart.
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