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What and Why of Astrology

‘The Instant Astrologer’

 Introduction written by Lyn Birkbeck

What is Astrology?

“Sir, I believe in astrology because I have studied the subject. You do not because you have not!” – Sir Isaac Newton (in retort to one of his peers who was ridiculing his belief in astrology)

Possibly astrology has a greater range of images, concepts and meanings than any other subject known to Man. This is not too surprising when you consider that it is one of the oldest subjects, for as soon as he turned his head upwards Man was looking at the Heavens and trying to understand what all those points and patterns of light meant.

So before it is described why and how it actually works, we need to define what astrology actually is. But first let us point out what, to the displeasure of the true practitioner of this art/science, astrology is not.

Astrology is not…The ‘horoscopes’ that you read in newspapers or magazines, or on a screen, or hear on the radio.

All these may have some bearing on what astrology is, but they are usually astrology with its teeth drawn. You can take it or leave it, or be merely entertained by it. Such ‘false astrology’ also suits those who denounce astrology, for they are right, it is rubbish, with a few notable exceptions. This does not mean to say that it has no place, for it is often the first step that anyone takes along the path of studying the real thing. It is just that such astrology should carry a ‘government health warning’ for a ‘forecast’ that applies to one twelfth of the population is going to be right for a very small percentage – but misleading nonsense for the rest.

Astrology is not… Solely a means of predicting the future.

It is possible to do this, very occasionally, but then mostly it should be done in the manner of ‘If you do so-and-so then such-and such could happen’. In this way the individual is given some power over their own fate. But to baldly predict an event as if it is unavoidably bad or good – regardless of what you do in the meantime – is irresponsible because it implies that one is a mindless slave to fate, be it negative or positive. All this goes against the idea implicit in genuine astrology which is that, primarily, it is a tool for consciously living in an increasing awareness of what and who we truly are (see A Tool for Self-Awareness, and Psychological Astrology, below), and that ultimately we are, expressions of a Higher Power and are thus co-creators of the world in which we live.

Astrology is not… Defining personality traits as being fixed and unchangeable.

The whole idea of life is that it evolves, and life obviously includes those that live it. A Birth Chart, properly drawn up and interpreted in a way that The Instant Astrologer does, will reveal what it is in the individual that needs to change or improve, along with what is already positive and well-developed. This now leads us to say what authentic astrology is.

Astrology is… Something that reveals us to be part of a far greater and all-encompassing, totally interconnecting reality.

The image arises here of the old physics experiment at school where iron-filings on a sheet of paper are seen to be gathering into the patterns of the field of a magnet being held against the other side of the paper. We and our little lives are governed by forces of which we are mostly unaware, and so we go about our business under the illusion of having free-will – or rather with an illusory sense of free-will. And at the same time, we are coerced and regimented by other ‘iron-filings’ that have more apparent power than us ‘little’ iron-filings. True free-will is paradoxical because it has something to do with choosing to ‘follow one’s own star’, that is, to recognize what truly exerts a pull on one and go with that. This is called one’s fate. A genuine and unique Birth Chart, properly interpreted, is precisely that – ‘your own star’, the character and course that is your destiny, something which we are all simultaneously liberated and limited by. This is truly the power in your life, like the magnet is in relationship to those iron filings, or like a little sailboat trying to get somewhere (your free-will) on the open sea in the midst of the elements (fate). In this respect, astrology is a map, compass and weather forecaster.

Astrology is… A key to true freedom.

Throughout human history people have ‘toed the line’ and then rebelled against whatever that line might be – boss, state, spouse, religion, etc.. But this leads nowhere for it can be seen that we are still a collection of hapless serfs or wicked barons, of power-wielding ‘haves’ or downtrodden ‘have nots’. These are all ‘false gods whereas true astrology puts us in touch with the ‘true gods’, with that true magnet, the real force that plays upon us little ‘iron-filings’, that is, the Sun, Moon and Planets of our Solar System. And then our Solar System itself is intimately connected and influenced by the Galaxy through which it moves, the Milky Way, which is in turn an integral part of the whole Universe. This is all part of what is called ‘The Macrocosmic-Microcosmic Theory’. This says that the greater is reflected in the lesser, like the structure of the Solar System is reflected in the structure of an atom, that is, a central object orbited by other objects. This in turn gives rise to something that is absolutely essential to understanding what astrology truly is.

Astrology is… The Law of Correspondence or ‘As above so below’.

Through observing the movements of the Sun, Moon and Planets and what is happening down on Earth it is seen that certain positions of these heavenly bodies correspond to certain Earthly qualities, experiences and events – which includes the births of individuals and therefore the nature of the individuals themselves (see Table of Correspondences on in the book). The Birth Chart, accurately calculated for this precise moment in time, is then seen to depict your ‘celestial signature’, a complex amalgamation of various energies in play that are seen through interpretation to correspond to a set of dynamics of personality with a direction and purpose. So we can see that there is far more to astrology than just one’s Sun- or Star-Sign. One’s Sun-Sign is rather like the part of one’s address that gives the town you live in, whereas a full and proper Birth Chart gives not just your street and house number, but every nook and cranny of your home itself, including your loft and basement!.

Astrology is… A Practical Guide to Everyday Living

And the ‘Below’ of ‘As Above So Below’ reaches right down into the street of everyday life. Days when you feel positive and right with the world; days when you feel short-tempered; days that are good or bad for shopping; days that great or disastrous for a social occasion; days when the poetry of love and romance is heard. Astrology can shed light on everything form the cosmic to the commonplace. Because of this it can also be seen how the smallest or most trivial occurrence can figure in the far greater scheme of life itself, or your life in particular. “To see the universe in a grain of sand” as William Blake put it.

Astrology is… A Body of Wisdom

Through seeing how the Macrocosmic-Microcosmic Theory and the Law of Correspondence are borne out through the verses and chapters of your life it is gradually and progressively revealed that there is a right and a wrong way of living. The Greater Will that is symbolized and sky-written by the Sun, Moon and Planets informs the Lesser Will of its true path for it corresponds to the path of the Greater Will, as seen in the movement of the heavenly bodies in their heavenly courses. This is not a judgmental Will any more than the Law of Gravity is judgmental.

Astrology is… A Tool for Gaining Self-Knowledge

Through witnessing how one behaves in reaction and in comparison to planetary rhythms and influences – much as a musician keeps time and in tune – one becomes aware of how one is working or playing, of what is truly profitable and enjoyable about oneself and life, and what is not.