I’m asking my dear readers to indulge me in a brief, new agey digression. We all experience them from time to time, right?
Astrology is one of those things that intrigues me but never holds my interest. It’s very involved. Many who dismiss it outright are only familiar with the Sunday newspaper variety. It wasn’t until my old friend Katrina did a workshop on making a natal chart that I realized how much work goes into it! Put aside any thoughts you have on the validity* and just look at what astrologers put themselves through! All their charts, longitude, latitude, angles, etc… Okay, my own ignorance is probably showing and badly. I’ve never been a mathematical person (despite what my rising sign seems to say), so astrology will probably always be one of those things I appreciate as a curiosity but never seriously practice myself. I acknowledge it and sometimes feel its influence – especially when things go retrograde.
There is evidence that the ancient Druids knew about and even practiced astrology (Ellis). They were known for being talented and knowledgable with the ways of the stars and planets. (Here’s a short but interesting essay by Ellis about it:http://www.radical-astrology.com/irish/miscellany/ellis.html) Their astrology was certainly not the Celtic Tree Calendar that Robert Graves popularized in The White Goddess (Blamires). It really is amazing how many people still think that’s authentic… Anyway, I am very interested in learning about the Irish names for celestial bodies and perhaps gardening according to their movements. As a side note, I came across this website about creating zodiac gardens according to one’s sun sign. I was intrigued that two of my favorite trees, birch and oak, were associated with my sign as well as my spirit animal, deer. Deer makes sense considering Sagittarius’ association with horses and hoofed animals. I don’t know about the other correspondences… Might have something to do with fire and strength? At the moment, I’m slowly working on gardening according to the moon using the methodology suggested to me by local herbalist Sue-Ryn Burns. I enjoy it purely as a way to better connect with and experience the energies of the lunar cycle.
Today I went to dinner with a couple gal pals. One of them, Corinne of F that S, is interested in astrology so it occasionally comes up in our conversations. We were talking about sun signs and how natal charts are made up of more than just that. She admitted some surprise at my being a Sagittarius and was curious how my chart actually looks. I dug the old chart Katrina helped me with using http://alabe.com/freechart and found that, in addition to having my sun sign in Sagittarius, Uranus, Venus, and Saturn are also there. While Neptune is in Virgo, Pisces and my moon sign are in Aquarius (which is also my rising sign). I have something called the N. Node in Cancer (which is apparently what makes me very loyal and somewhat introverted). The rest of my chart, Neptune, Pluto, and Mars are in Scorpio (my husband’s sign). Looking at my chart, it’s very top heavy and a good mix of fire and water with a dash of earth and air. It’s fun to think about…
Do you ever tinker with or think about astrology?
Some resources: Blamires, Steve. Celtic Tree Mysteries Secrets of the Ogham. Llewellyn, 1997. Ellis, Peter Berresford. A Brief History of The Druids. Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1994. Ellis, Peter Berresford. "Early Irish Astrology: An Historical Argument." Réalta vol 3 no.3 1996
* I once took a critical thinking class in college (philosophy 101). The professor made us pick from a list of topics, then research and write about why they are not logical. I’ve a healthy dose of skepticism, but the limited choices available were pretty insulting. I ended up choosing to “debunk” astrology purely so I could learn more about it!
13 thoughts on “In Which I Ponder Astrology”
This is the astrology site I like best
I’m with you, this is one of the biggest subjects I’ve ever entered and sometimes I just can’t see learning that much information. On the other hand, sometimes when I look for patterns it is eerie how many connections astrology makes.
I would like to think that druids have their feet firmly planted in reality like an oak tree, and will work out that the movement of stars has no impact on human life. I can run with the idea of throwing down runes to predict an outcome, for I see the logic of self and connection to spirits determining outcomes; but there is no logic in stars.
Self has free will, no external agent (God) or star is pulling the strings. Self may indeed be working through life with spirits, but this is a freewill interaction, with neither having total control over the other. Placing self in the power of agencies such as God or stars where the individual has no determination over is ignorant and stupid.
By “there is no logic in stars” do you mean “it is irrational to believe the stars have any influence over our daily lives and personalities”?
Yes, stars have no influence.
I can definitely understand that thinking, and it is one of the biggest arguments against astrology (probably part of what keeps me from adopting it wholeheartedly). Like others have commented, the connections are what sometimes catch my attention and make me think about it again, especially with regards to retrograde planets. Things start to feel out of sorts and then I find out it’s a retrograde. The agnostic in me knows it could very well be a coincidence and that I get stressed and have bad luck in non-retrograde periods as well. More than anything, I think it’s the symbolism of astrology that fascinates me, especially with regards to the classical elements. I’ve always felt that fire represents me very well in a general sense – better than a more narrowly described sun sign.
Free will is certainly an important part of my spiritual belief, but I do believe that Gods or spirits occasionally take the reins for greater purposes (or lesser purposes – who knows). Or that once we pass a certain point, it becomes harder to exert our will in a certain direction – but that is more determined by society, the choices we have made, and our mortality.
Like I said, astrology is not something I seriously study. I do feel the moon has a certain connection to us, especially with regards to the water in our bodies, and just symbolically for magical practices. But that’s probably the most seriously I’ll work with celestial bodies (besides the sun, of course!) As I said, it’s really just a curiosity. Something fun to think about and I find it interesting to see what others say. That said, some of the most intelligent, well-rounded people I know study and utilize astrology. I certainly don’t find them to be ignorant or stupid. I was going to say such adjectives are more useful in describing people who use it (or any spiritual practice) as a crutch and won’t leave their homes or try anything unless the stars are in a certain alignment … but I’m not quite so cruel or judgmental. To me, that’s more worrisome and such people probably have a deep-seeded psychological condition that needs to be addressed in some way. Not that I’m a doctor or anything… lol.
Anyway, I hope that makes sense! Thanks for sharing your thoughts! It’s good to have people offer different perspectives.
My perspective has long been that while I can’t see how the movements of the stars directly influence — and, if you look into it, astrology frequently follows old astronomical understandings that have shifted, including a bit of precession — that astrology might contain a storehouse of cyclical patterns as observed and then mapped as close as was managable to astronomical cycles.
I’m not a believer — but it seems every 3-4 months we need to take stock of communication and make sure we’re not making too many assumptions, and how often is Mercury in retrograde?
Thanks for your reply! I think I see what you mean and that I’m the same way: every few months I hear about something like retrograde and it does make me reflect on what is going on in my life. Not necessarily a bad thing, and one doesn’t need to ascribe to astrology to do so. 🙂
Astrology is fascinating. I used to be sceptical, but it amazes me sometimes how accurate the personalities are. The other day, I was talking to my house mate about a Capricorn I had dated. He told me of a similar experience he had had. It was almost like we were talking about the same person! I couldn’t believe how similar it was.
That’s exactly why I sometimes turn back to it for an hour or a day for fun – because the connections are interesting. Similar to what I said to Alex above about retrograde periods – it could all just be a big coincidence, but it’s interesting to consider other possibilities.
If you want to look a bit deeper into astrology without having to do that much work, I HIGHLY recommend “The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need”. If you don’t plan on going professional, it IS the only book you’ll ever need and its AMAZING. $40, which is kinda pricey, but the newer versions also include a cd-rom that’ll draw up charts for you!
On an interesting side note….having a bunch of signs on the top means you are more outward-directed…this could be interpreted as extroverted or simply caring more for others. Bottom-heavy, likewise, is inward-directed.
So you’re Sun: Sagittarius, Moon/Rising: Aquarius? Wow, can we say “progressive, free spirit, challenging boundaries, always looking ahead”?
I’m Sun: Libra, Rising: Leo, Moon: Cancer. The book has me dead on!
Thanks for the reply and your interpretation! I like that description of myself. 😉 I’ve heard of that book before. I believe that’s what my friend Katrina owns.
Hi Grey! So glad our little conversation inspired such an interesting blog post, with such varied and equally interesting responses to it. I agree with you that those who use astrology as a crutch or base their every action on it are misinterpreting what it’s all about. I for one never read my daily horoscope out of the newspaper – I prefer the lengthy, well-researched monthly by Susan Miller over at http://www.astrologyzone.com. Some months I forget to read it at all, but when I reference the month that I missed I’m always surprised at the similarities of what she wrote to what happened in my life. At least it always gives me something to ponder.
It’s also interesting to listen to those who denounce astrology outright, referring to it as the complete sacrifice of free will…which to me shows a complete lack of understanding of (or, desire to understand) beliefs that are different from ones own. But then again, anyone who would call someone stupid and ignorant for their beliefs is actually saying more about themselves than those they are judging – what we see in others is usually just a projection of ourselves!
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