The Art of Astrology
We can liken the astrologer to an artist. Some artists make paintings that are uplifting, others create caricatures, still others create artwork that evokes pain and disillusionment. So it is with astrological readings. A skillful and wise astrologer encourages the best in their clients, teaches clients how to successfully navigate upcoming rough waters, and shares methods of working with shadow issues in the chart.
Astrology is one of the oldest and most established symbolic languages. Its symbols can be combined an a myriad of ways, for unlimited purposes. This tool can be used to predict weather, earthquakes, political coups, or disease; or employed to answer a question of the moment, prescribe solutions to pressing difficulties, introduce a person to their karma or psychodynamics, or help a couple understand and accept their differences and the purpose of their relationship.
In any case, it is not enough to be accurate, one must be helpful. Scaring people about a future they can't change does them no service, while scaring people about a future that isn't actually going to happen is almost criminal. Teaching people, on the other hand, how to approach their life lessons, cyclic issues, and predispositions can be a sacred and enriching task. We astrologers must never forget that the person listening to us is the most important "part" of any reading.
Combining The Lights
Astrology is about sequences and interactions. It is incredibly helpful to learn how different parts of a person's chart interacts with each other. These interactions are not only caused by aspects, but simply by the presence of different energies in the same individual.
The strongest energies in a chart always have to reckon with each other. That is why there are so many books that just look at the Sun sign and its interaction with the Moon sign. An Aries Sun person will have completely different internal issues if they also have an Aries Moon than if they have a Cancer Moon, for example. If the Sun and Moon are in the same element (fire, air, earth, or water), there will be an inner congruence that will re-enforce the elemental energy involved, leading to less inner conflict, but also perhaps more overdoing of the elemental pattern.
If one of the Lights (Sun or Moon) is in Air and the other in Fire, there is both a compatibility between the elements, which results in greater self-expression, more sociability, and an inquisitive mind, but there is also the inherent opposition of these elements, which can result in ambivalence, vacillation, intensity alternating with distance, and an exaggerated need for independence. The highest use of this blend is powerful and passionate communication and thinking, combining logic and finesse with intuition and creativity.
With one Light in Fire and the second in Water, we have the most emotional combination of all. Here things are taken personally, fear collides with impulse and courage, and extroversion with introversion. Learning detachment and objectivity becomes essential, and yet this combination gives a person perhaps the most aliveness and intimacy and passion of all of the permutations. The highest blending combines psychic receptivity with courage and directness, and a deep ability to express caring.
Those having a Fire Light and an Earth Light must learn to not let one element dominate the other. If the Earth inhibits the Fire, repressed creativity, energy, and emotion can explode into anger, or just cause inner tension, while if the Fire dominates the Earth, a feeling of being out-of-control can develop. This is the strongest combination, with a great capacity for doing, working, accomplishing, and manifesting. The lowest aspects include steam-rolling over others (more common in men) or not receiving from (or listening to) others, while the highest side is the synthesis of groundedness and inspiration, the manifestation of dreams, and the idealistic achiever, pioneer, and leader.
Air and Water Lights are the most receptive, indirect, fluid, and changeable. Here one may avoid confrontation and decision excessively, "distance dance" between intimacy/connectedness and detachment/disconnection, and perhaps live too much in imagination. Grounding and structure is needed in the life, to bring the person to earth (unless either the Water or Air is fixed, which could provide the grounding). At their best, this pair creates the very best listeners, very creative artists and communicators, and an open mind and heart.
Air and Earth combined are the least emotional, subjective, and personal of the combinations. One can become too "dry" here, as well as too matter-of-fact, logical (think of the Vulcan Mr. Spock of Star Trek), incapable of relating to emotional people – perhaps even judging them as irrational, childish, or uncontrolled; and unsentimental to a fault. Their best includes an incredibly clear vision and balanced perspective, the ability to bring ideas into reality (e.g. an inventor), and a calm resiliency and receptive presence.
The Lights in Water and Earth make for the most introverted combination, tending towards conserving, retreat, inwardness, passivity, lack of communication (about what is really going on inside them), and serving others without setting appropriate limits. If the Earth dominates the Water, there can be emotional repression, self-martyring, and unresolved feelings, while if the Water dominates the Earth, the person may "give themselves away". The highest expression of this combination is the Cosmic Mother, who provides safety and protection, love and nurturance, and endless support from an overflowing fountain of strength and emotional depth.
This combining of the Lights could have been described – even by me – in many other ways, because the permutations are infinite, and the specific signs involved will certainly modify and even contradict some of what I've written. Never take any "cookbook" interpretation as the gospel, realize we are dealing with infinite Archetypes in these symbols, and living, growing, changing intelligent beings, in the people we are describing.
May your art grow.
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