Astrology has never had any appeal to me, primarily because I believe in the flexibility of life and the human psyche. I believe that, while there is much in this universe that has the power to influence us in a number of ways, we as conscious individuals have the power to steer our own lives, and that the very function of life is growth and change, rather than constancy.
I find that many people use astrology as an excuse to remain stuck in old patterns. The various signs of the zodiac come with their respective characteristics, which some people tend to cling to veraciously.
For example, if there is a particular unhealthy psychological trait associated with one’s astrological sign, people will often say, “I can’t help it. I’m a Virgo” or a Sagittarius, or whatever it may be. But I find this way of thinking problematic, because I know that we are all capable of change, and that life, in fact, is a series of opportunities for positive growth. And I know that one of the things which prevents us from changing is the belief that we cannot.
Now I’ve heard some people suggest that astrology is actually meant to serve a practical purpose, and that purpose is to encourage personal growth, but this isn’t a popular idea. It’s much more acceptable and convenient to believe that we are stuck with whatever characteristics we’re born with.
And how do we get stuck with these characteristics? What I mean is how is it that we each are born with these different characteristics, temperaments and traits? Is it genetics and environmental factors or do the constellations truly influence these things? And can there be another possible option?
Now, to be honest, I really don’t believe that the stars have any actual psychological influence on us. In fact, I think the whole idea is ridiculous. Of course, just as with anything, I’m willing to reserve a little room for the possibility. There is undeniable evidence that the sun and the moon have a physiological influence on us, but the stars that make up the constellations are light-years away, and there is no evidence so far to suggest that they have any such influence.
However, I am willing to entertain the possibility of correlations between the stars positions and the traits we are born with. A correlation doesn’t mean that one thing is caused by the other, but that both occur simultaneously and with some degree of consistency. So it could be that people long ago observed the positions of the stars and noticed correlations between certain constellations and events on earth, as well as the personality traits of individuals.
There has been, long held, the belief in many cultures that the individual soul neither dies nor spends eternity in some heavenly realm, but transmigrates from one body to the next. And when the soul reincarnates it carries with it impressions from previous lives. This would explain why we are each born with different temperaments and tastes, which aren’t always so easily explained by genetic or environmental factors.
Now, in cultures where astrology has long been practiced, the most important reading is done at the time of birth. This is because it is believed that the stars do indeed correlate with those characteristics of the person returning to the material world. But this isn’t done to satisfy mere curiosity. That would simply be novelty. There is practical reason for knowing these things.
The purpose of astrology, in such cultures, is to understand what characteristics and tendencies a person is born with in order to know what areas need to be nurtured and developed. Often a person’s most noble quality will be honored by the name they are given—a tradition we have lost in western culture.
As for those qualities seen as weaknesses or imperfections, the purpose of recognizing them early is to cultivate a way of life by which to resolve them. But as soon as we use astrology as an excuse to remain stuck in these qualities, we have missed the point. In fact, there really is no point in recognizing these qualities if not for the purpose of changing them.
Similarly, astrology is often used for the purpose of predicting the future. And I cannot say as to whether or not this is an accurate science. I am naturally skeptical, but I am also willing to consider it a possibility. With that said, I tend to view any sort of prophecy as the telling of possibility. That is to say that I believe the future is ultimately uncertain, and that prophecy reveals perhaps the most probable outcome according to the direction in which we are currently moving. However, I see this only as a probability among many possible outcomes, meaning that we could, at any moment, set a new course.
The way that prophecy is often misunderstood is that the future is already written and therefore unchangeable. But if this is true, then what is the purpose of prophecy? Why tell us how something is going to unfold if there is nothing we can do to change it? And in fact, many people, believing that prophecy is an accurate foretelling of unavoidable circumstances, will often behave in a manner that contributes to the unfolding of those circumstances, because, after all, there is no point trying to change anything.
However, if we look to those who have prophesied about the future, they often seem to be trying to warn us. But why would they warn us of something inevitable? That would be like telling someone who’s falling from the sky to watch out for the ground. What good it that? Regardless of what you tell them, they’re going to hit the ground.
But I believe that prophecy, if true, is not meant to reveal to us a certain inevitable future, but rather to show us what is most probable if we continue in the way we have been. I believe it is meant to be an opportunity for us reexamine our current way of life, to see what misfortune might arise from it, and to change before it’s too late.
Life is about growth. It’s about ever evolving toward a higher state of conscious awareness. And everything can be utilized as a tool for positive change, as long as we have the clarity of mind to see it from this perspective.
In my own experience I don’t find astrology necessary for this, and I tend to be skeptical. Whether a reading is accurate or contrived I prefer not to be influenced by it, but to simply observe myself and find what lessons are available to me in daily life.
I’m not going to tell you whether or not you should believe in astrology, or how much importance you should give to it, but I would encourage you to have a healthy sense of skepticism and to rely more upon your own direct experience.