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Saturday, November 1, 2008

What is Astrology?

What is Astrology?
Simply put, astrology is a symbolic language. The word astrology is derived from the Greek words astron meaning 'star' and logos which means 'word'. Astrology therefore, literally means the "language of the stars". Astrology is based on an ancient law known as 'AS ABOVE, SO BELOW', otherwise known as the Law of the Macrocosm and the Microcosm. The Macrocosm is the universe, symbolised by the sky, or the starry dome which we can see from Earth. The Microcosm is us: man or woman, the human, the individual here on Earth.

So, astrology says that the same laws that guide the universe also guide humanity. We are not separate from the universe - we are a part of it. Its energies are our energies, and we must therefore work in the same way that it works. It is an astrological assumption that if we learn to look above for understanding, we will come to understand more about ourselves.
There are various approaches to astrology, but for now I will take a brief look at two very opposite types of astrology. One is a very mediaeval, fate-oriented approach. In this approach, everything is seen as predestined, and the underlying belief is that we have no freedom to choose and direct our own lives. Astrologers who practise this approach, and there are many, see humans as puppets manipulated by cosmic forces outside their control. This is the type of astrologer who is into predicting specific events, telling you what is going to happen when, and advising you the best thing to do with your life.

The other approach is a more modern, choice-centred one, and this is the approach that I use. This type of astrology is sometimes called humanistic astrology. Here, the belief is that there is a creative force within each of us which seeks to be expressed. In this world view, we are seen as co-creators in our own destiny. It is not free will versus destiny, but free will and destiny. The birth chart is viewed as a tool which can help us to better know ourselves, to identify our personality traits, both 'positive' and 'challenging', and ultimately to choose to transform our conflicts into harmony. Using this approach, we can to some degree at least, choose to be free from that which limits us. In this view, character is destiny, which means that when we change our character, we change our destiny.

Humanistic astrologers believe that the purpose of the birth chart is to use it as a tool for self knowledge so that we can learn to increasingly identify and express our highest potential. We need to work with the problem areas identified by the chart until they are transcended. This means that we do not accept our problems as fate, but we use our awareness of them to overcome them and to learn from them. The idea is that the more aware we are of ourselves and our purpose in life, and the more we are consciously in tune with the energies which govern our planet, the more our destiny is in our own hands. A Humanistic astrology focusses on awakening our realization of our gifts, our purpose and our creative potential.

Some humanistic astrologers also believe in the concept of karma and reincarnation. The philosophy of reincarnation says that we all possess a spiritual essence or soul which continues on after death, and incarnates in different physical bodies in different lives. The purpose is to learn different lessons through experience, and to gradually walk the path towards perfection or wholeness. The philosophy of karma says that we are responsible for our own actions. We sow what we reap, or for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. You make your bed and you lie in it. All of these sayings are describing this ancient doctrine of karma. It is, however, not at all necessary to believe in karma or reincarnation. The same concept can be explained through biological inheritance or genetic predisposition.
by Candy Hillenbrand

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