What is Astrology

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Astrology and the Mandala

A mandala is a sanskrit word that means circle. It is used in Hinduism and Buddhism to represent the universe as a microcosm of the macrocosm. One meditates by creating a mandala as a way of connecting with the universal mind.

Dreaming of a circle can represent returning to who we are after the vicissitudes of life may have led us away from ourselves. All that is unchanging about us will return to the surface as experience seeks to unmask us. In Taoism, the circle is representative of the cycles in nature which never complete, but are endlessly evolving. 

An astrological chart is like a mandala because it is a replication of the universe at the moment of birth. When we face challenges, the chart allows us to find clues in a universal expression that describes our hero's journey toward individuation. The entire life path can be interpreted through the planets, placements and aspects that are read like a language of symbols. As a dream analyst, I observe a similar archetypal expression active in dreams. Through both, a story of symbolic associations from a metaphorical landscape inspire our evolution.

A chart describes how our weaknesses will be challenged over time to be incorporated as strengths. Since the planets continue to move, we can look at the past and understand the future described by the challenging and harmonious aspects that inspire the development of our life story.

Ancient Astrology

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The above Voynich manuscript is an illustrated codex, written in an unfamiliar language dated to 1400 AD. Currently housed in the Yale library, many cryptographers have failed to translate its meaning. What makes it so interesting to astrology is how the only clues that have enabled any progress in its interpretion comes from the drawings of the constellations.

When we translate our ancient texts or stelea, we are often guided by a reference to celestial phenomena. We can recognize dates through known conjunctions because our ancient fascination with the constellations appears universal. Because the planets move through such a small band of constellations overhead, all cultures have similar mythologies about the star clusters and planets that move through them. 

In September of 2004, I was researching the Chilam Balam in a remote town south of Chichen Itza, and attended a type of harvest festival. It began with young men carrying a flaming bull piñata on their shoulders, and ended with the women going into a church to present flowers to the Virgin Mary. The festivities were a strange combination of Christianity mixed with more ancient practices. Obviously, there is nothing in Christianity that pointed to lighting a paper mache bull on fire. However, if we look at what they were doing astrologically, the cycle of planting and harvesting begins with Taurus the Bull and ends with Virgo the Virgin. The old planting season is burned away and we pray that the coming cycle will be fruitful.

The ancient Maya, like many cultures, were practiced astronomers and the story of Kulkulkan (like Persephone in Greek mythology) is based on the strange behavior of the planet Venus. It can rise before, or after the sun, and then disappear 'underground' for large periods of time.  The ancient Hebrew called the planet Venus, Lucifer or 'bearer of light.' Isaiah's reference to "Lucifer who has fallen" or the 'imposter' came from comparing a prideful Babylonian king to the planet Venus. The ancients believed Venus 'pretended' to be the rising or setting sun because of how it mimicked the sun. The mistranslation of Lucifer created an entirely new mythology, where the competing fertility goddess and snake worshipping cults were castigated. 

The ancient Sumerians of the 3rd millennia BC tracked celestial movement and devised the sexagesimal system of 60, which is still used today to organize time. Like the Maya and Chinese, tracking the position of the Moon and Sun, along with the other planets allowed ancient cultures to predict planetary behavior to regulate time. This also allowed ancient Chinese sailors to master latitude and longitude and many believe it was their ancient maps that made their way to Venice and ultimately Portugal, which led to the European voyages to the New World. Understanding the celestial cycles allowed the ancients to predict flooding as they evolved from hunter and gatherers to masters of agriculture.

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The Sumerians developed the first wheel, and the Maya were the first to work with the concept of 0. Both observed the circular movement and return of planets and constellations over time. The Babylonians adopted the 360 degree circle and divided it into 30 degrees each, to represent twelve houses and the 12 constellations of the zodiac. 

Since then, astrologers have put together and drawn from a body of inspiration about planetary cycles that has served many generations. Its longevity is tied to how it has proven to capture elements through observation that help us to understand our place within the greater cosmos. The Forbidden City in China was built to reflect the cosmos above. Pyramids were erected as ancient observatories to monitor celestial movement which coincided with rainfall.

The many mythical stories about Zues, Marduk and other heroes who overthrow old regimes can be traced to the precession of the equinoxes from Taurus (Bull Worship) to Aries, as a single hero overthrew old pantheons. Its movement into Pisces coincided with the rise of Christianity and aligns with myths about hero's who came out of the sea, and established culture and civilization. Even today, those associated with Christianity still wear the Mitre or fish shaped headgear from our old mythology. As the precession moves into Aquarius, we will discover new ways of understanding humanity employing new technologies that will transform how we understand ourselves.

Tracking the Sun through an Ancient Observatory
Astrology and the Birth Chart

An astrological chart is a snapshot of the cosmos captured at the moment of birth. We are all a microcosm of the larger organism and the chart is written in a language of symbols and archetypes. In the same way archetypes emerge in our dreams as inspiration from the collective unconscious, a similar energetic expression manifests as the story of our life path.

Much like physical DNA, we imprint the universal message of the cosmos as the soul’s energetic journey. A chart describes our strengths, weaknesses and challenges as a type of hero's journey. As the planets continue to move through the chart, aspects describe the ongoing story of individuation. Placements can describe the ideal childhood condition that will launch the hero to achieve what is described by their chart. Each of the houses capture aspects of our paradigm, similar to how the levels and rooms in dreams of a house portray our mindset.

Physics shows us how the arrow of time is relative. Because movement and speed can influence time, the past and future coexist in some strange way with the present. This may be the philosophical answer for why an astrology chart can predict the future. An astrologer might know that Uranus will move over the Descendent of the individual's chart 4 years into the future, but they can only describe the possibilities this freedom loving planet might bring to the 7th house of relationships. Astrologers read the symbolic picture described by archetypes - but the actual manifestation can only be determined by understanding the entire chart.

When I do the chart of a newborn, the parents are always amazed to see the child present behaviours exactly as suggested by the chart. An astrologer analyzes the complexities of 9 planets, 12 houses, 2 nodes, 12 astrological signs along with their rulership and placements in addition to looking at the various trines, sextiles, squares, conjunctions and oppositions between the planets. Therefore, a chart is different from the cook book astrology of understanding only the sun sign. 

The chart describes the individual, but generations of children come forward who embody the transformative message of the slower moving planets in aspects that lead the group consciousness to evolve.

Science and Astrology

Astrologers do not attempt to offer scientific explanations to describe why astrology works. Like dream analysis, the chart is a metaphorical journey of archetypal influences captured in symbols. Astrology predicts cause and effect and can be an invaluable tool in understanding the challenges we face. There are many things in the science of force and energy we have yet to understand, although we are able to tap this power. Similarly, we have no need to understand why a system works if it leads to predictable results that are proven over time.

Warm ocean temperatures create hurricanes that recede as waters are returned to optimal levels. When sea temperatures rise, we might predict a season of hurricanes. Years of drought lead to wildfires, and solar cycles can lead to El Nino seasons. In September, prior to hibernation, hungry bears will break into houses in the mountains and then disappear when the snow comes. In the same way, astrologers simply document and share repetitive causal phenomena revealed after 2500 years of measuring outcomes.

What Can Astrology Reveal About the Future?

The slower moving planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) through the signs can predict changes and trends that affect everyone. Keywords associated with the planets and signs allow us to recognize what this means for larger evolutionary cycles. We can get an idea of what changes are in store for us through an astrological forecast of the first half of the 21st century.

Pluto is associated with breaking down the old structure to instigate transformation; Neptune relates to spirituality and creativity, and how boundaries are dissolved; Uranus is associated with freedom, technology and revolutionary change. We can follow the movements of these planets through the signs to understand how we will evolve into the future.

In the 1990's, Pluto was in Scorpio, emphasizing transformation in the 8th house of financial institutions and many changes were adopted. Neptune was in Capricorn dissolving 'the establishment,'  businesses, larger government and economic structures, while Uranus in Capricorn brought about innovation to how business is conducted. Not only did the old world business model dissolve as businesses moved online, the European Union was created. Neptune dissolves boundaries while Uranus creates a new frontier through technology.

At the beginning of the 21st century, Pluto was in Sagittarius driving the transformation of our philisophical beliefs (9th house.) Neptune was in Aquarius, while Uranus moved into Pisces. The lines separating humanity (Aquarius) were dissolving (Neptune.) Revolutionary technology (Uranus) transformed how we view our sacred beliefs (Pisces.) Through technology (Uranus) humanity could progress beyond old dogma and illusions that had come to separate us. Our spiritualities blended in the melting pot (Pisces) to become something new (Uranus.) Yoga effectively merged eastern and western ideas, and the internet (Uranus) made information about the real roots of our sacred beliefs available to everyone (Pluto Sagittarius.) Additionally, the Genome project explored humanity's DNA and showed how we are all from the same ancestor (Neptune in Aquarius.)

In 2008, Pluto moved into Capricorn to transform the establishment, government and business practices. It coincided with a time when we witnessed weakness in business structures we once believed were solid. Uranus (technology) in Pisces (artistic expression) created alter realities of creativity where access to apps and music (Pisces) required unique devices (Uranus.) The mobile migration (Neptune in Aquarius) meant that people had to become comfortable with online purchases. Pluto's entry into Capricorn drove many companies to abandon bricks and mortar to move online, where online buying surpassed off line purchases.

Pluto in Capricorn also refers to the 10th house and our ability to shine in the public. By 2010, Uranus had moved into Aries, innovating self expression (Aries) through technology (Uranus) while Neptune in Aquarius dissolved boundaries in social expression. Uranus in Aries (self expression through technology) meant blogging gave each individual the ability to take the world stage. Old world media (Pluto in Capricorn) was usurped by individual expression (Uranus in Aries.)

In 2012, Neptune moved into Pisces, its own sign, initiating a sense of spiritual oneness and world unity and world borders dissolved. Neptune, Pisces and the 12th house all describe the dissolving of personal boundaries too, as a type of melting pot. Our personal information and online behavior was no longer private and was migrated to virtual clouds. We lost any sense of separation (Neptune 12th) among diverse cultures and came together online to support each other (Uranus in Aries.) Going online to get a 'like' or 'thumbs up' from people all over the world was the transit of the times.

Pluto in Capricorn (earth sign) also ensures that economic and environmental considerations are transformed. Unscrupulous or non sustainable environmental practices (Capricorn) are revealed and the rug was pulled out (Pluto) from beneath powerful corporations (Capricorn). The attack on Monsanto, online petitions, crowd funding sites and wikileaks reveal this transformation. Virtually anyone anywhere can make their voice heard and begin a revolution (Uranus in Aries.)

In 2018, Uranus moved into Taurus and the same technological trends (Uranus) that drove individual expression (Aries) via Facebook and Twitter are now focused on the monetary system and our value structure (Taurus.) Prior to 2010, we couldn't have imagined how technology would revolutionize individual expression (Aries.) In the same way, our approach to financial security (Taurus) will be liberated. 

Pluto's long sojourn through Capricorn continues to transform the establishment, government and big business. The international monetary system may be replaced by cryptocurrency and peer to peer lending platforms. Bank interest rates are almost non existent, but imagine a world where you can use a safe peer to peer lending platform to get a better return on your savings. Uranus in Taurus will open the door to innovative ways we might save our money and exchange our resources.

Large online retailers take credit card information when we make a purchase, but most sellers use Paypal to give buyes a sense of security. Mom and pop sellers pay big fees on the money they receive. Platforms will emerge with a business model that serves the majority of smaller, online retailers. Technology (Uranus) may shift a portion of the credit industry (Taurus) toward the consumer, where adoption of innovative platforms will follow.

Governments (Capricorn) may have to revise (Pluto) the monetary system (Taurus) to meet the demands created by these changing universal technologies (Uranus.) Just as our spiritual ideas merged, sharing money, the stock markets and the idea of world currencies (Taurus) will need to transcend old boundaries (Neptune/Pisces.)  From the melting pot of Pisces, a universal system of measuring value (Taurus) will emerge.

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In 2024, Pluto will move into Aquarius and was last in this sign from 1777 to 1796. This was a time when the steam engine was invented along with other mechanical devices which completely transformed how individuals lived. People left their farms in remote locations to work in factories located in the city. Although electricity came later to replace steam as a power source, the real technology was the development of the engine and automation. 

We can get a sense for how wondrous 'steam powered' technology was to the people of the time. Science fiction playfully creates modern steam powered devices, as if steam is the technology for all time. However, in the late 1700's the invention of the engine led to the Industrial Revolution in Britain. The spinning Jenny (an abbreviation for engine) and the power loom drove the mass production of textiles. Iron and steel too, needed to be mass produced for steam powered trains, ships and other devices that completely transformed the human experience (Pluto/Aquarius.) What a wondrous thing when we no longer needed the wind or our arms to move across the sea!

In the same way, Pluto moving into Aquarius in 2024 can be viewed as the transformation of humanity because of inventions. Science will change the way we interact with our technology. It will not just serve us, but change how we experience life.  Computers will surpass what the human mind can achieve and transport the life experience into an entirely new context. We may discover that the air around us can be tapped for magnetic energy that doesn't require movement and switches to generate energy. Like Vikings rowing our ships forward, we are still using energy to create or move energy. That will change as technology transforms our old paradigm.

In 2026, Neptune moves from Pisces to Aries, dissolving the idea of self (Aries) in a way that we might subordinate our sense of self to technology, because that same year, Uranus (technology) moves into Gemini (communication/transportation.) This will liberate communication and how we think and use the mind. Virtual reality may transcend the virtual part as we utilize technology to  enhance the capabilities of the mind. 

By 2026, a pattern will repeat in how Uranus in Gemini with Pluto in Aquarius occurred during the time when machines led to the Industrial Revolution. Since technology allows us to evolve exponentially, we are in for quite a ride.

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Imagining ourselves as the 'steam powered enthusiasts' at the turn of the 19th century, we can get an idea of how the early decades of the 21st century will appear as we look backwards from 2050. We are toying with ideas about quantum physics and technology that entertain us for now - but should become a reality as we travel through space tapping the momentum of gravitational fields, the power of dark energy or even the waves of energy left over from the Big Bang (Pluto in Aquarius.) Day to day transportation too, will be transformed.

It won't be a search for the earth's resources that will drive us into space. Both Gemini and Aquarius are airy, innovative, magnetic and energetic. Our old sources of energy will be replaced by tapping the space around us as if the new frontier is driven by traveling on a more airy form of wave. We may find a way to alter time and achieve longevity through movement. We may need options that only space and time travel can resolve. Our vehicles might mimic the earth's gravitational force and atmosphere to limit the adverse effects of weightlessness or speeds approaching light. Or, we may avoid the friction caused by using force for propulsion as we slip into the pleasant curve of fields that are already swarming around us. 

Pluto in Aquarius describes how our ability to understand and manipulate the ether (space time) is key to our technological progress. At the least, our understanding of space will be transformed. We might generate density to bend space or utilize movement to create protective fields. We'll alter the fabric of space by influencing its geometry, creating a wave that moves us forward at warp speed, or we'll apply nuclear power (Pluto) to create man-made wormholes and slip through to the nearest star.

Uranus in Gemini suggests that magnetic trains are just the beginning as we discover ways to propagate vehicles like electrons carried forward by magnetic fields. Electric cars of 2024 will be replaced by magnetic vehicles. Additionally, we will harness light to transmit information because electricity, magnetic fields and light are various expressions of the same thing. Hermes bestows Gemini with lightning speed and Uranus taps it.

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Uranus in Gemini will also transform communication and how we think about ourselves in the universe in ways we cannot yet imagine. Uranus was in Gemini in the first decade of the 1600's when the telescope and microscope were invented. Both changed how we viewed ourselves within the universe. It was also in Gemini during the 1850's when electricity was understood to be waves that travel at the speed of light, giving rise to electricity, radio and telephones.  It was in Gemini in the 1940's when we communicated military threats with an exploding atom, but Pluto was in Leo at that time, and the world was in a power play. Pluto in Aquarius is about science and technology and how it can transform humanity. Aquarius is a scientific sign and this may be the onset of the Age of Aquarius that coincides with the precession of the equinox into Aquarius.

The combination of Neptune in Aries (dissolving our idea of the self), Pluto in Aquarius (humanity transformed through science) and Uranus in Gemini (technology revolutionizing communication and travel) will usher us across a very potent singularity. Technology and computers will no longer serve us, but will be integrated within us, or we may place ourselves inside of our technology. A new internet might connect consciousness, not as virtual reality or pixel representations, but in waves of shared experience. Chips that interact with consciousness will replace mobile devices.

Once we understand what light means to dimension and manipulate the geometry of space to send information and to travel, our understanding of our universe will change. Perhaps we will catch up with our energetic self and revise our understanding of why we are here (Neptune in Aries.) The stone age signals we are currently sending into space with radio may be replaced with something more magnetic that travels everywhere at the speed of light.

By 2033, Uranus will move into Cancer, associated with technology applied to the home. It was last in this sign when television was first introduced into the home, completely transforming domestic life. Perhaps the idea of home will be innovated by advancing technologies as a new frontier opens a new way of living. It will move into Leo in 2040 and was last in this sign from 1955-1962 during the Space Race, as Leo has a tendency toward demonstrations of power and conquest.

We are the farmers of ideas that will soon sweep us into a different context within the universe. The coming decades will take us beyond the known and it won't be the devices that change - it will be us who will change because of where our devices take us.