Your Horoscope and the Purpose of Your Life
November 2012 feature
Nearly half a century ago in 1967, The Magical Mind, an interesting book by professor George N. Gordon and stage magician John Mulholland, was published. As dated as it may be, the book still is relevant to the value of astrology in the twenty-first century. In diverse ways, their book addressed this question:
In which direction should we move to discover a more satisfying life? The culture and material abundance of modern, civilized societies do not guarantee us a satisfactory way of life. Many of us might not even have a vision of what a good life for us would be, as we are criticized for immaturity, vulgarity, love of money, stagnation, undue conformity, and apathy. Little things take up so much of our time that we cannot meet the big challenges. Losing sight of the forest for the trees, we cannot decide which path to take to reach satisfaction.
I am writing this in 2012, but the question they addressed is as relevant as ever. Regarding how to answer the question, however, advances in science and differences in thought between these authors and myself call for a somewhat different answer. They took an oppositional stance toward metaphysical and astrological approaches to the question of finding the satisfying life. I find reason to think that astrology may provide among the best maps of the "forest" of your life, and may be a great way of increasing our freedom by making us more aware of real alternatives to choose from.
The most famous and perhaps the most convincing recent evidence in favour of astrology is the work of the scientists Michel and Francoise Gauquelin. They precisely described their studies finding correlations between positions of the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn and eminence in various fields. His findings have since been confirmed by other researchers. To the extent that astrology is based on the theory of a connection between the other spheres of our solar system and the course of our human lives, his work provides strong evidence that, at least to some ways, the astrological theory is confirmed.
One outstanding way in which astrology may provide a map of the "forest" of your life is this: interpreting the horoscope in a more global way without letting the many possible readings of details stop you from seeing the "forest for the trees." A method, which I have tried on my own horoscope with much success, involves the superimposing of a pentagram over the natal chart. This results in five points of reference for giving an introductory reading of your natal horoscope. The locations and the directions of apparent motion of the planets with respect to these reference-points may give an overview of the time-frame in which the person tends to respond to reality, whether focused more on immediate situations, or more on intermediate, such as annual, goals, or more on longer term, life-span goals.
I have not seen this done in any of the astrological sources I have consulted. Try it! You are respectfully invited to share with me any insights you get using the method! Here is how I used it, to give you a model of how you can proceed.
Start by aligning the upward pointing point of a pentagram with the Midheaven of your natal horoscope. In my case that point is 28 degrees 50 minutes Taurus. All the five points of the properly made pentagram are 72 degrees apart. Let us move counter clockwise from the Midheaven, the direction in which the planets "want" to move, except if they are in retrograde. The next of the five points of the star, therefore, lands 72 degrees in the counter clockwise direction from your Midheaven. In my case, that is 10 degrees 50 minutes Leo. Now repeat this three more times, moving counter clockwise until you go the full circumference of the circle of your zodiac. In my case, my horoscope is divided into five sectors: the top point of the star pointing at 28 degrees 50 Taurus, the upper left point at 10 degrees 50 Leo, the lower left point at 22 degrees 50 Libra, the lower right point at 4 degrees 50 Capricorn, and the upper right point at 16 degrees 50 Pisces.
In my horoscope and yours, what do these five sectors mean?
We can think of the upper left point as a modified version of the Ascendant point, the approximate point on the eastern horizon where the sun, the moon, and the planets rise. The Ascendant is defined not only in terms of this place, but also in terms of that threshold time of the risings, and the beginning of another 24 hour cycle. Even more significantly, it can be thought of as defining the neighbourhood of the points of ascension, at which the sun may rise at some particular day of the year. Even though we could not tell, the sun did not rise at exactly the same point this morning as it did yesterday morning. The point of ascension keeps shifting minutely day by day until the difference becomes noticeable to us. These facts give you quite a powerful way of thinking about the upper left point of your pentagram. You can think of that point as representing one particular point of ascension on some special dawn of the year, so special that you designate it as the start of your personal New Year's Day! When you give a particular day that magnitude of importance, for you it becomes a time to reflect on the past year and to prepare to go through a year all over again.
The prefix meaning "over again" is, re-. You may picture this pentagram superimposed over your natal horoscope as an upward-pointing pentagram of five "re" verbs: "react" at the upper left point, "resolve" at the lower right, "relax" at the uppermost point, "revise" at the lower left, and "restore" at the upper right.
Any New Year is a threshold, one of those magical times most favourable for making crucial transitions. It is a time to review the actions over the past year. Unless you are totally apathetic, you cannot help but react, usually both positively and negatively. Identifying those actions which did not go well to which you behaviour contributed, you reflect on what you could do to make things go better. Often, this is the first thing we do on coming to the end of a year. I suggest letting the upper left point in the pentagram over your horoscope represent this initial response of reacting. You may imagine that initial point having "to react" written by it.
The problem with the verb “to react” is that it often does not include a long-term commitment to changing. How often we react fervently at first to improve some aspect of our lives, only to lose touch with that fervour, sometimes in just one week! We need the added component of resolving to improve over the whole year. I suggest imagining an arrow descending and crossing over from the upper left point of the pentagram to the lower right point. This direction parallels that in which planets, not in retrograde, naturally move through the zodiac. Let that lower right point be the second point in your astrological pentagram, and imagine the verb "to resolve" written by it.
Besides being a time both to react to the past and to resolve for the coming year, your personal New Year also well might be a fine time to recharge our biological batteries. Yes, no matter how much we may want to move ahead, we first need to relax, recuperating from the stresses of a whole year! I suggest imagining an arrow ascending to the top of your pentagram to make that uppermost point. Let that point be the third point in your astrological pentagram, and imagine the verb "to relax" written above it.
Among the ultimate states of relaxation is sleep. Is it not amazing how restless our brains are? Only for a while are we in deep sleep, for soon we start dreaming. Our dreams include much imagery. Dreaming very much is envisioning! Any true student of the sacred mysteries learns about what the nineteenth century Romantic poets were focused on: the power of visions. Visions today are results the day after tomorrow! Far from being merely random, cerebral activity, vivid dreams and daydreams may act on the more distant future, in actually revising reality! So, your personal New Year also is your chance to revise reality to a limited extent.
You may represent this connection between relaxation and revision of reality with an arrow descending from the top point to the lower right, to make the fourth, lower right point in your astrological pentagram. Imagine the verb "to revise" written by it.
So far you have your natal horoscope with a pentagram in the making superimposed over it, and the words, react, resolve, relax, and revise, beside their corresponding four points. What about the fifth point? All these "re-" words! You may be wondering whether or not "realistic" would be the most proper, fifth "re-" word. So far the whole picture looks quite rosy, right? If your orientation toward the world is what is commonly called realistic, there is a good chance that you think the picture is too rosy. Where is the thorn, you ask?
There are two sides to everything, it seems, so there well might be some truth to your response. The sight of goals sometimes does get lost for the daydreams, and we do end up losing some potentials. Sometimes we do not back ourselves with positive thought, nor do we always have the drive that gets goals realized. In fact, quite possibly we might do all these things and lose quite a bit of what we had or might have had. We might end up with just the hope of restoring lost paradise. But all this seems so negative! How can we make this fit in with the upbeat qualities of the four points covered so far, react, resolve, relax, revise?
You can after all make this your fifth point in your astrological pentagram, because all this does have an upbeat side to it! Wanting to restore lost paradise is not necessarily just an idle daydream. The verb "restore" is linked with its verbal twin "reGAIN". Even in losing a number of potentials, there is the hidden gain in the hope of gaining that wisdom, which comes with reflecting on these past experiences, that insight worthy of being shared with the world. What might this insight be?
It relates to a modern method of promoting overall health, advocated by many prominent physicians, called Guided Imagery for Wellness. Many of us suffer significant fears, painful memories, and disappointments. We forget who we are and what we are, in struggling to meet unrealistic expectations, and also tend to condemn others who fail to meet our expectations. Guided Imagery involves simply focusing on what bothers you, while visualizing this special something called your essence: the part of you which does not condemn your life, but accepts it in a relaxed state of mind.
So, here is the fifth verb to write by the fifth point of your astrological pentagram: "to restore". Just as you drew an arrow between the point labelled "relax" and the point labelled "revise," so also you may draw an arrow between the point labelled "revise" and the point labelled "restore," because there is just as much a link between the latter two. The link is a fairly new, but widely respected medical concept called remembered wellness. This can be described thus: re-envisioning former wellness, or more poetically put as lost paradise, actually does help much to restore that desired state! Remembered wellness has been found to be an excellent way of enlisting your own dormant recuperative powers. All three, relax, revise, and restore, are a closely linked triad, because training yourself to relax frees your mind from distraction and enables it to encourage your body to use its own recuperative powers.
Here is how my astrological pentagram has helped me to understand myself. Hopefully your own astrological pentagram will work equally well for you! Here is how I go about interpreting my chart. Try these steps, to see if it works for you as well as it does for me!
The first thing that I look at is the greatest gap between two celestial bodies. In my natal horoscope, this is between Uranus, at 2 degrees Leo, and the moon, 16 degrees Capricorn. The one rising first is the leading body, while the other is the trailing body. In your natal horoscope as in mine, the leading and the trailing bodies, whichever they may be, probably carry more weight in interpreting the whole picture.
Secondly, note in which of the five arcs your leading and trailing bodies are. I call the arc between the uppermost and the upper left points Arc 1, the arc between the upper left and the lower left points Arc 2, that between the lower left and the lower right points Arc 3, that between the lower right and the upper right points Arc 4, and that between the upper right and the uppermost points Arc 5. Note whether these two bodies were moving direct or retrograde. As a model of how you may proceed, consider my natal Uranus in Arc 1. It was retrograde. This means its motion was pointing out the uppermost point of the pentagram, linked with "relax", rather than the upper left point, as it would if it had been moving direct. In contrast, my natal moon in Arc 4 was direct. Therefore, its motion was pointing out the upper right point, linked with "restore".
Thirdly, looking in a counter clockwise direction, note body by body where the rest of your natal bodies were and, depending on direction of apparent motion, to which of the points of the pentagram each points and which corresponding verb each points out. To illustrate, in my natal horoscope, the next two bodies going counter clockwise were in Arc 2, and the remaining six (out of the sun, the moon, and the eight planets) were in Arc 3. All of these eight bodies were moving directly. Therefore, the two in Arc 2 were pointing out "revise" and the six in Arc 3, "resolve".
Fourthly, look for a tension between two or three possibilities of courses of action. To illustrate, in my natal horoscope, four out of the ten bodies highlight the triad among the verbs, "relax", "revise" and "restore", while six highlight the verb, "resolve". This may be interpreted as a tension between two possible courses of action: a course of action which will need a focus on that strategy of Guided Imagery of Wellness, as I have mentioned earlier, involving acceptance of limitations and the consequences of past choices, and welcoming the wisdom and insight made possible; the alternative course which demands a focus on realistic drive directed toward realizing resolutions, a common example being annual goals for scholastic mastery.
Fifthly, check whether or not one of the possible courses is more highlighted than the other. Quite likely, one is more highlighted than the other. In the case of my natal horoscope, the group of six bodies pointing out "resolve" may outnumber the four which highlight the relax-revise-restore triad, but the latter includes those important leading and trailing bodies. Due to this, I do think that the triad is more highlighted. This suggests a stronger tendency in my nature to make choices leading in the direction of a life culminating in the more mature years with wisdom and insight, rather than success in more material terms in my younger years.
If in evaluating the possible courses of action represented in your natal horoscope, you find one more highlighted than the rest, does this mean that your destiny is dictated by this? Definitely not! Astrologers often have been accused of such fatalism, as they were in the book The Magical Mind, but that is not how I see interpreting the natal horoscope. I see it as an interactive, empowering experience, like interacting with the modern Personal Computer. Quite contrary to a fatalistic model, I find intelligence behind the horoscope, which is asking you regarding your crucial choices, "Is this what you really want to do?" This is just like your PC asking you, "Do you want to erase all this information you entered?" You can insist on, "Yes," just as well as choosing to say, "On second thought, no." We can freely choose only to the extent that we are aware of having choices. Like an intelligently programmed PC, the horoscope enhances our freedom by making us more aware of our choices. This leads up the last step.
Sixthly, what is the Divine Intelligence behind your horoscope asking you, to enhance your awareness of your power to choose the direction of your life? "Do you really want to (follow paths X), given the potential you could actualize by following the competing direction?" Remember, the Intelligence is Divine, but the life is still yours! After utmost consideration, paths X still might be what you want to choose.
Again, I am quite a progressive astrologer who wants to investigate whether or not this method works for you as it has for me. Please try it, and let me know!
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