f course every culture through time has had their own astrology and star-lore — for our own planet is cradled in stars and the celestial bodies were once believed to sing all beings on earth into slumber, action, love, war-making, and wisdom — some of us believe such songs may still be heard. It only makes sense that we would cast our eyes up to the starry vault of heaven for guidance and inspiration, as our ancestors did before us and as their ancestors did before them.

In old sacro-magical traditions every plant, animal, stone, and star was seen as having it’s own “virtue”, meaning that each object had a specific and unique nature. So it was that the planets were never simply seen as a series of luminous bodies some greater and some smaller, but rather, in our Western tradition, Mercury was the alchemists quicksilver, banner holder of ideas, intellectual pursuits, communication, and walker between the worlds who stood at the threshold or the crossroads and kept the secrets of magic. Likewise, luminous Venus held court with all lovers and would-be lovers inviting them all into her lovely and well appointed bed chamber.

Understanding astrology in this way allows us to consider the whole — specifically the whole life of any one person — and recognize that our lives and our virtues can be seen most clearly through a veil of stars and celestial bodies. Such an understanding is still available to us today.
When I analyze a client’s natal chart, write about current astrological events {link to astrology tag in blog} or teach astrology classes {link to star magic}, I find that there are two significant barriers in relating to and gleaning wisdom from the sacred art of astrology. The first is that for far too long astrology has been weighed down by the double evil of inaccessible jargon and fatalism. The second is that many people are turned off by the various symbols of astrology and the perception that one must be mathematically inclined to derive anything of use from the stars. In the first case of inaccessible jargon and fatalism there is much truth — old astrological texts are full of obscure references and even more modern books are rife with terms like “sextile” and “conjunct” that definitely can leave the would-be student feeling like they know LESS about the planets or zodiac sign than they did when they started. And for sure I have talked to many sun-sign Librans who are tired of being told that they are indecisive and sun sign Scorpios who have a decidedly sunny outlook on life despite their supposed dark and brooding characteristics.

The second complaint, that of the symbolism and mathematical nature of astrology is largely without grounds. There are thirty one symbols that the interested astrologer needs to learn — the twelve zodiac signs and the nine planetary glyphs — that gives anyone a firm foundation in the art of astrology. As for mathematics, a certain kind of computational skill was required for the old art of astrology, but with so many excellent programs out there now for chart casting, the computation is something that the beginner can learn if they want to, but by no means do they have to.

Here is what it is essential to understand about astrology as I practice and teach it: the zodiac signs, the planets, and the 12 houses of the zodiac wheel do not make us do/feel/act in any particular manner — rather the stars, planets, and asteroids serve as a celestial wisdom council. This council is uniquely arranged for every individual on the planet so the lessons, challenges, and soul knowing for each of us is also different. However, once we learn to speak with and listen to this wisdom council we can live a deeper life that is full of more meaning and beauty. And that is the reason we practice astrology.

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