Let me start off by saying I love astrology. I love its ancient roots, its evolution in time, and its intertwining with the fields of psychology, humanism, and spirituality. I also think it is important to question astrology from time to time, its place in my life, and the underlying principles that keep me invested in practicing and studying it. Below I explain why I see belief as a central to my perception of astrology.
The Shadow Side of Belief
Life may be viewed as a series of choices, programmed in many aspects, but options none the less. So it is inevitable you will be presented with things throughout your life that stir up interest, drive, and passion.
When this happens we often seek out like minds to share our experiences with; whether that be through a political cause, religion, sports, a school of thought, and so on. The group mentality can intensify our experience of these things. At the same time the shared power of belief can become so strong that facts may be explained away by many well-intentioned, impassioned individuals fighting for a cause, system, or way of being. This can become shadowy when a system of belief is fueled by hatred or lacks ethics and morals.
Psychology says that humans will choose to stand by their deeply held beliefs and convictions even in the face of contradicting or factual evidence. It is an undeniable aspect of the human experience to believe in things, even if that something is science. Our emotions deeply tie us to our beliefs. This is why so many things, even things lacking scientific evidence, end up gaining traction or find a foothold in society.
If astrology has a shadow side then I feel it is tied up in the dogma of the various systems. This can lead to themes of judgement or stereotyping based on the many categories that exist in astrology.
This is why it is important to question everything. Not because all of the movements, spiritual systems, or world views that we align ourselves with are misguided but because it is essential to step back and look at the bigger picture. How are we being influenced or influencing others with our personal beliefs and value systems? Are we helping or harming?
So why does astrology seem to work and fit for some of us in the world at this time? Because there are people, myself included, who believe in it; who lend energy to its place in our society. I feel one of the reasons astrology has continued to persist regardless of what the current scientific perspective tells us is because when using astrology we are largely operating from a place of faith in the system and not fact. It is important to remember that belief is a very powerful tool, it can have incredible effects on our perception of reality.
Let’s be honest, astrology does not have the best reputation. It cannot exactly be proven by scientific standards, it is not taken seriously in academia, and the readily accessible astrological information is often a shallow representation. Many aspects of astrology are frozen in the past unable to move beyond dogma that has become important to the maintenance of the belief structure.
Astrology often has us stuck in a game of creating categories and making assumptions about others based on the zodiac. At the same time it can be fun to engage with this content and chat about personality traits for the purpose of inviting people into the practice.
Astrology is not a science in the way we know science today. It just isn’t and we should not treat it like it is. Astrology is a system of symbols based on the structure of the zodiac which we have assigned meaning to. Overtime the astrological symbol system has evolved for different purposes. It can be used as a tool in psychology to expand on understanding of personality, it can assist with personal spiritual development, or be utilized by counselors as a means of addressing traumatic experiences.
It can become a very easy pitfall to attribute each aspect of life to our natal charts. I catch myself saying, “I am a Capricorn so I hate to break rules,” which is true, I get very anxious if faced with breaking a rule. My actual lived experience of my personality is now wrapped up in the thoughts I have about being a Capricorn. When I do this I am using astrology to explain my behavior.
In astrology Capricorn is generally associated with structures and rule following, but just because that one aspect is real for me does not mean it will fit in for other people and the myriad of expressions that a Capricorn person might demonstrate.
Astrology as a tool can be helpful and it can be very accurate. But identifying very strongly or even hearing a suggestion regarding your astrology chart can be a very powerful force that we should keep in mind.
I think recognizing this as Astrologer’s is important to help us approach each chart with a greater understanding of our own biases, prior knowledge, and personal belief systems. This is also a reminder to notice the reality of how astrology actually fits in with an individual’s life and not just see a crystalized systems of categorization. There is a delicate line we are flirting with when we engage with astrology.
Astrology for Our Reality and Fantasy
Perception of reality is a major factor when approaching systems of belief. The very fact that we can radically change our minds speaks to our mercurial nature. The key here is to understand that our perceptions can shift, evolve, or be completely changed. The consequences for a shift in belief can vary greatly adding layers to the fabric of our reality.
Because astrology is not strictly scientific but also not necessarily spiritual it falls into an area that is neither in this world or the next. It is an in-between phase for those of us that need a little more than modern psychology has to offer. A belief in Astrology can help place us within a context that stretches out into space and reaches back into the myths of the past; using the fantasy world of the planets to anchor us to our real experience as human beings in the present.
I question astrology and any system of belief because humans don’t know how everything in the Universe fits together. We can guess, speculate, and set up systems and structures to help us gain clarity but in truth we just do not definitively know what makes us conscious of this reality we are experiencing.