On the last day of school, a friend of mine handed me a book that she was so excited to get hold of – Linda Goodman’s “Sun Signs“. We all took turns reading ours. Mine was the last and after reading the description I was enamored. Ever since then, astrology became a favorite pastime. By the time I passed out of college, I was making charts for friends. However, my interest grew and I started feeling there was more to it than met the eye. As my interest grew, I also happened to visit a lot of astrologers. Needless to say though, my experience with Indian astrologers was not so great. Some would talk about the usual good things but could never really talk about my childhood (which had been quite traumatic for me). And some others would only talk about difficulties making it a “horror-scope”. After trying in vain for several years, I quit. Until a couple of years ago I met Jacqueline Maria Longstaff, an Osho sanyasin, Tantra & relationships teacher known for her work on birth and death called “The Cosmic Airport“, who has her own ashram in Tiruvannamalai. This delightful teacher re-kindled my interest in astrology. When I gave her my chart made out in the western system of 12 houses, she was stunned. Although I had just printed it off a website she was surprised that I didn’t follow the Indian system.
Later she gave me a few references to read. Along came another mutual friend, Kiran, who gave me the reference I had been searching for my whole life when I peered at the charts – Jan Spiller.
Here are some interesting things that I’ve loved to share with friends about astrology–
- The power of astrology is stunning and simply impeccable when you use it for your spiritual growth rather than as a predictive science.
- Understanding your life purpose can actually become quite clear when you learn to use it as a spiritual tool.
- All the planets are inside us – yes that can sounds quite strange. I’ve had a lesson in esoteric astrology where you are guided to feel the planets in your chakras/body. And I must say, the kind of understanding that flowed for me after that session was incredible. It is not that the planets alone influence us, but as we transform consciously, a whole matrix of energy is released that transforms “life” or grids associated with/on those planets too. This affects every single one of us in turn. It is truly, a flower of life.
- The western astrology system is quite different in terms of the Indian astrology, in terms of the house placements. What I present to you here is just western astrology because I have no idea about Indian astrology.
- In astrology everything can be explained backwards – which means if you say you had an accident at such-and-such time, it’s easy for the astrologer to say, “Ah! It was this-and-this transit because of which this happened”. The real “art” is when a person looks at the whole picture of your chart, and can pinpoint exactly what is going on with your life and what thought system is creating that for you. This takes years of experience and I have seen only one person do that in front of me – Jacqueline.
- Other than the 8 planets and the 2 luminaries, western astrology includes the placements of the comet, Chiron (called the Wounded Healer). Some charts also include the asteroid Lilith, known as the “dark moon”, which shows you your dark side you have chosen to work with in this lifetime.
- The best part is the placement of your North Node and South Node termed as rahu and ketu respectively in Indian astrology. What are these? You can read up here.
- There are 12 houses, one for each zodiac sign. They are placed in a circle, anticlockwise, signifying the night sky, each covering 30 degrees. However, the sign placed at zero degrees on your chart, is the sign rising on the eastern horizon at the moment of your birth. This sign is called the ascendant. From there on the rest of the signs follow. However, a sign will not necessarily cover all the 30 degrees of a house.
- Today we have apps like the NightSky, etc. and online references to tell us about the placements of the planets above us. However, in ancient times, the charts were called the almanac, more precisely the farmer’s almanac. Farmers planted and harvested, different crops based on these placements. Don’t believe it? In Italy, they still harvest the onions when the moon is “hard” and plant lettuces when the moon is tender.
- Hippocrates, the father of medicine, based a lot of health on one’s astrological chart. There are certain areas of the body associated with every zodiac sign. In his journals he mentions never to touch a metal to a body part (for incision) governed by the sign the moon is transiting in. Moreover, the sign Saturn is in, often points at problems in those areas, or an unusually sturdy good health in that area.
- Sun sign is equally influential as the Moon sign, as the Saturn sign, as the Mercury sign and so on. Hence, basing one’s “preferences” on just one of these signs is quite illogical.
- Moreover, it is not just one single sign, but their relationships with each other, called the aspects, that are as important, which point you to the exact issues one has chosen to work with in this lifetime.
- It is through consistent self-work that one transcends the influence of one’s chart. It is completely possible to have the whole chart turned inconsequential in the course of your lifetime. A chart is just like a map to a destiny. You can walk much beyond that of course. It is always a pure-choice universe.
- Astrology is very closely linked to numerology – Kabbalah, Pythagorean, etc. Ultimately they are different languages pointing to the same destiny you have chosen.
You can read up the basics of Western astrology in good reference books and sites such as this. However, it is important to vibe with the astrologer’s reading to really start referencing their site seriously.
* Firstly, get your birth chart or natal chart as it is called, charted out. You can get it here for free. If you don’t have your exact time of birth, a sunrise chart, meaning a chart calculated with your birth time as the time of sunrise on that day can be used. However, it is better to put the best known nearest time.
* The following books are the best references I have come across:
1. Spiritual Astrology by Jan Spiller – This book explains the various signs, and what the placement of a sign in a planet/house means.
The best thing that puts this book apart from anything else I have read is the explanation of the pre-natal solar and lunar eclipse signs we have. These are the eclipses that occurred the closest before our birth. The eclipses impregnate us with specific lessons we are here to master as well as the special gifts we are here to share with the world. I have found this exceptionally accurate in pointing out the subtleties in my consciousness that I otherwise would have missed. The charts showing the eclipse times are given at the end of this book, so you can find yours from the book itself.
2. Astrology for the Soul by Jan Spiller – this is very much soul astrology/karmic astrology. Through the placement of your North Node and South Node, you can get very fine details of where several belief systems that you have come from. A lot of layers in your personality get very well exposed. I had my verified past lives being mentioned very accurately with respect to my North node sign. Moreover, you would probably find some similarities with what an Indian astrologer might tell you about your life. But this book will go even further and tell you the psychological motivations behind these patterns.
3. Star Signs by Linda Goodman – this book can be an astonishment for the uninitiated. It was for me when I had no idea about energy, auras, etc. during my college days. It gives a huge understanding of how colors affect us, how various areas of the body are associated with a zodiac sign and a primer on Kabbalah numerology among other things.
4. Sun Signs by Linda Goodman – this book is like pop music of astrology. Almost everyone has either heard of it or read about their sun sign in it. It is, however, just a scratch on the surface.
1. Cosmic Love by Jan Spiller – Synastry is the art of mapping one person’s horoscope with another person’s. You can get a synastry chart free at Jan’s site, Cosmic Love. However, the beauty of her work is that she gives you the “gifts” that you come to share with a life partner that are often elusive to us. It shows us how we have come to complete our unfinished contracts with each other. I often use it for parent-child relationships with great results. For example, I could understand my mother’s primary motivation in my life, the area where my growth was stunted in a previous life by some act she was involved in, and how in this lifetime she is doing the exact opposite to balance out the karma. Our relationship greatly changed after that and it helped me get over huge approval issues.
2. Chiron points us to our deepest wounds and the efforts we take to heal those. For understanding Chiron, the online resources are AngelFire and CafeAstrology.
3. Lilith, the Dark Moon, for a man represents the woman he deeply desires but fears. For a woman, it shows how she feels as a woman, and what attracts her that is harmful for her. For understanding Lilith, the Dark Moon, and what its placement in our charts signifies, the online resources are Llewellyn, Astrodienst and AngelFire(not very helpful).
4. Henry Seltzer‘s site, Astrograph and his reports. Very detailed and articulate, especially the Solar Return report.
5. Saturn – A new look at the old devil by Liz Greene – A very wonderful, but difficult to understand book on some very fine details of how Saturn’s placement affects us. Liz Greene’s other books are known to be very meticulous and revealing, although I have read just this one.
6. Jan Spiller‘s own site with great monthly horoscopes and also very clear yearly horoscopes.
Final note: In Jan Spiller’s words – “When astrology is approached seeking open-minded understanding of self and others, it leads directly to unconditional love”
Understand what you have chosen to discover and master in this journey….and move on.