Basics and Beginnings
Today, two new people came to have a lecture and a chart reading. With not much knowledge or understanding of Astrology, we began at the beginning!
We went through the houses, signs and their related planets. The students seemed a little overwhelmed by these three lists, but it is much easier than remembering the two kana syllibaries, I think!
The houses: parts of life
The signs: types of energy
The planets: how the energy types are manifested
One aspect of astrology that is not often focussed on are the elements and the modes, and these form the basis of the signs, houses and their related planets.
Elements each have a related essential energy:
Fire relates to identity, motivation and drive
Earth relates to material and physical reality
Air relates to cognition
Water relates to emotion
Dividing perception of the experience of reality into these four elements is artificial: these divisions are in place to facilitate a locus of objectivity for people to develop their perceptions. If using such a division achieves objectivity, then this system is valid.
Next are the modes, equally as artificial:
Cardinal relates to instigating and developing
Fixed relates to maintaining and protecting
Mutable relates to disseminating and connecting
By combining the four elements and three modes, the fundamental energies of the twelve signs can be understood clearly and objectively. Continuing around a circle from the western point in a counter-clockwise progression, the order of the elements and modes are always identical.
Cardinal Fire is Aries: Developing Identity through action
Fixed Earth is Taurus: Maintaining Identity with possessions
Mutable Air is Gemini: Disseminating Identity through communication
Cardinal Water is Cancer: Beginning Self understanding through emotional experience
Fixed Fire is Leo: Maintaining and strengthening Self with individual identity
Mutable Earth is Virgo: Disseminating Self by communicating attitudes
Cardinal Air is Libra: Establishing connections with Others through interactions
Fixed Water is Scorpio: Maintaining relationships with Others with a purpose
Mutable Fire is Sagittarius: Connecting with Others through similar beliefs
Cardinal Earth is Capricorn: Discovering the structure that connects all of Us
Fixed Air is Aquarius: Knowing the principles that connect Us
Mutable Water: Experiencing the emotional connection between all of Us
Working with charts over the past couple of years, I've come to think that each angle - the cusp of the first, fourth, seventh and tenth - are actually each a quadrant related to each element. The Cardinal Elements that begin each quadrant indicate a basic part of each of us, and in the definitions above, I've labelled them as Identity, Self, Others and Us.
In the class, the students seemed to grasp these basics and then attempted to apply these key words to their charts afterwards.
However, memorising the basics does take either time or effort, but once this is done, the chart really does open up much more easily.
Well, it may be a good idea to first identify what astrology is, and then further define 'psychological astrology' with clarifications of how I use psychological principles with astrology.
In this context, I am focusing on the interaction taking place between the people. When someone comes to have their astrology read for them, they are always seeking answers, often to some very difficult questions. Of course, the person asking questions wants answers, and very importantly, the person reading astrology wants to be able to give answers.
The tool of astrology allows people to locate and identify answers and questions that work on different levels, and perhaps this is the main reason why astrology has continued to exist throughout the millennia essentially unchanged. Discovery of new technologies leading to the discovery of new planets, new comets and moons of other planets has not weakened astrology, but rather given this particular tool extra material with which to work.
Astrology is a tool for providing answers that come from a non-human source - the planets have no opinion and no judgement, but only an objective point of view. With an objective point of view, astrology demonstrates its true power in reflecting back to us our selves.
Now, people being who they are, it is important that when learning and teaching astrology, that we maintain this objectivity and strengthen it. As soon as a person starts to study astrology, they suddenly take on a new identity that has something attached to it, whether this is realistic or not. Tell anyone you're an astrologer, and you will notice a particular selection of responses that contain elements of awe or derision.
Either way, you will no longer be considered 'normal' (whatever 'normal' may be).
So astrology elicits an inequality in relationships, between the 'knower' and the 'not-knower'.
I have studied some part of two main schools of psychology: cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). They are not the same thing, but neither are they dissimilar: Both use particular kinds of language to elicit responses from the client.
I have noticed that interactions between people in an astrological situation often become extremely one-sided, with the astrologer providing a lecture based on astrological information, and the silent client taking care to assimilate as much information as possible.
The most valuable thing that I gained from NLP was to stop being the 'knower', and to start being the 'listener'. Only by closing my mouth and opening my ears could I hope to begin to understand where the client was coming from, is, and is going to. There is always a process involved in all we experience.
Astrology is a great tool: comparisons between natal, progressed and transit charts provide a full lifetime of information and squeezing all that information into a brief time to answer a poignant question is a challenge. But the time taken to orient the question within astrology, and elicit clarifying and validating information from the client is time well spent.
For example: 'I want to start a new life, but twice before I tried and couldn't do it.'
There are two themes here that need to be confirmed with the astrological information available, and then a psychological approach to take as the response. New life: Pluto and Uranus transits; progressed Sun conjunct progressed Moon; progressed Sun changing house or sign. Twice before: Most important is 'When?' Check the main transit and progression changes for those times, noting what planets were involved.
All that must be done before the astrologer says even one syllable.
Psychological approach: ask 'What stopped you?'
Asking this open-ended question allows the client to actually identify for themselves what took place. Of course, as the astrologer, you can see the answers in the chart (for example natal Saturn square to natal Sun), but the purpose of psychology is to have people provide their own answers.
And as the client tells you what took place for them, listen to their key words and link them to the astrological information. Encouraging this experience with clients helps them understand on a sub-conscious level that their lives are their responsibility.