The symbols, myths and metaphors of astrology have been gathered across the centuries from a variety of cultural sources. Based on an underlying philosophy that assumes some kind of interrelationship between the sky and the earth, astrological thinking has thrived during the past two thousand years across the globe. The Middle East, the Greco-Roman world, Asia, and medieval and Renaissance Europe have all nurtured astrological thought in its varying forms. Marginalized as a consequence of the Scientific Revolution in the 17th century, astrology underwent a rebirth during the 20th century beginning with the theosophical movement, from whose hands it passed during the depth psychology heyday of the 1960s and 70s., when it adopted the rhetoric of Jungian psychoanalytic theory. A recent flush of interest in Vedic astrology has added another facet to contemporary astrology’s richly complex and syncretic theory and practice. Appropriated by the New Age movement, astrology once again demonstrates its resilience and capacity to adapt to the cultural and historic moment.
When viewed as an esoteric philosophy for self examination and introspection, astrology can be incorporated into a personal spiritual practice. Its symbolism offers a catalyst for self discovery and personal development. As a vehicle for contemplating the self by means of its archetypal images, astrology also has the ability to describe personal cycles and stages of life. The birth chart can provide a mirror for the soul and its purpose. The chart is a spiritual mandala that outlines the contours of the soul’s focus and its psychological predispositions.
If you remove prediction from astrology, taking away the assumption that fate, destiny, health, wealth or disaster can be determined from the birth chart, what remains is a representative model of the interior landscape of the psyche. This distillation process leaves a pure, symbolic and spiritual technology of the sacred that can stimulate introspection and self awareness.
Using the birth chart as a mirror of insight into the landscape of the soul can enable higher levels of self awareness, improvement and spiritual maturation. The chart can aid in identifying and describing problem areas, and in this capacity can be said to be diagnostic. Those same challenges also contain the potential to become areas of strength, because all astrological archetypes contain a full range of healthy and unhealthy possibilities. By holding as goals the highest expressions of potential in the chart’s dominant archetypal images, astrology can become a prescription for spiritual evolution.
Astrological archetypes are highly fluid and subjective in nature. One’s personal relationship with them can change over time. The more self aware one becomes as a result of inner exploration and a quest for self, the greater the possibility of finding inner peace and happiness. You have to know who you are to be happy, to know what will make you happy, in contrast to what another person might find satisfying. External mandates contribute to the hive mentality. Only knowledge of the true self, which is capable of growth and evolution, can align the personality and the soul. A temperate and thoughtful contemplation of the birth chart – astrology with a light touch – can awaken self knowledge and an awareness of larger spiritual and developmental cycles. In this way, harmony between the self and the cosmos is possible.