Astrology: What is it good for?
First, it is important to remember what persons’ astrological “sign” is and is not. Your Sun sign (or ‘star sign’ as it is commonly called), represents your identity, will and sense of self. To think that reading about your Sun sign is all that astrology has to offer to explain who and what you are is like imagining that hot chopped tomatoes are all you need for a good marinara sauce! It’s a vital ingredient, but not the whole picture by a long shot.
A birth chart is like a persons’ hard drive, the hardware we are born with and are set to work with throughout our lives. It’s a complex system that works whether or not you understand it or believe in it. You can upload programs, move stuff around on your desktop, optimize the hell out of it, or let it get all junked up with viruses and never really learn how to use it properly. Why not read the manual? Your birth chart is like a personalized Me-Manual, that a qualified astrologer can interpret for you.
Astrology isn’t a belief system. There is no spiritual doctrine that is inherent to the study or use of it, and it’s not in any way a faith based system. It’s a system of divination, and a way of looking at an individual’s nature, predispositions and likely circumstances. What we do with those things is where free will comes in! Free will enables you to choose to make the most of yourself or to be the most brilliant jerk around. Astrology doesn’t pre-destine your choices, but it does describe what you are most likely to be choosing between.
In a birth chart, a skilled astrologer can read about your family history, body health, mental health, emotional nature, sexual preferences, money issues, ideals, hygiene habits, what’s going on for you now and what’s coming up tomorrow- I mean the list goes on and on. Knowing that you are a particular sign or reading your weekly horoscope won’t tell you that stuff. You’ve got to look at your “sign” as the little piece of information that it is, and find more complex things in context of the rest of your chart to get all kinds of complex information.
There is a whole lot of math in astrology, lots of rules and layers of meaning between the planets, signs, and their placements. If you’ve ever seen a chart then you know that there are lots of symbols and numbers on it, and I can tell you that they all have meaning on their own as well as in relationship to each other. A good astrologer will have spent many years studying and reading charts and can give you much that computer generated printouts lack. To effectively read a chart, you’ve got to be able to read the pieces and sync them up to have them make sense.
You don’t have to believe in astrology for it to be a handy and insightful tool for getting to know yourself on a deeper level. Whether or not I believe in aspirin, or understand how it works, all I have to do is pop one of those bad boys and wait 30-ish minutes and voila! Headache relieved! Now, not all headaches are cured by my trusty aspirin pills, and there are lots of reasons for that, some I can guess at, and some as mystical to me as astrology may be to you. The point I’m trying to make here is that not only do you not need to believe in something for it to work, but even the most tried and true things in our world don’t work all the time. It can be validating to learn of a larger context to explain why you are how you are, or why your mother was this way or you’re ex that way. And what could be larger than the Solar System? Astrology, when used responsibly, is an excellent tool for understanding people! When dumbed down it can read like generic quackery, but when you stumble upon the real deal it is life affirming and helpful. A real “You’re OK, I’m OK” kind of thing. What I love about astrology is it can help a person see their limits so that you can work with them and no longer be limited by them! The birth chart also allows us to see what we are good at and can sustain in a healthy way. Very helpful!
The stars, planets and constellations (we call ‘em “signs” in astro-speak) are all out there, whether we think about, see, or consciously feel them or not. Many folks have a hard time buying that a bunch of planets that are ridiculously far away from us and Earth have any impact on us humans. I get that; it’s a weird concept, especially for us Urbanites who rarely see the stars in the city’s night sky. The Solar System is out there, though, affecting us all the time in ways we do and don’t understand. If I’m listening to the radio and my cell phone rings, I get static on the radio. These two devices work in ways that I’m clueless about, but I have proof that they work, because when you call me on the phone I can hear you perfectly (once I turn the volume on my radio down)! Whatever magic connects our voices on the phone exists whether or not I’m receiving a call; the energies that make phones and devices connectable are always actively present. Weird, right? Anyways, these devices and their technology are pretty new and still being perfected. The grand old Universe has been around a wee bit longer and its field of impact is likely to be much more pronounced. That’s how astrologers see it, anyways! Astrology works based on the principal that we are connected to this planet, and this planet and its contents is connected to the Solar System, and that all celestial bodies hold and give off energy. Whether you buy that or not, my experience is that it works. You should decide for yourself whether that’s true for you. I’m not inclined to get into the technical aspects of how the planets impact us, but I am confident that plenty other astrologers out there are doing just that, so do some research if you’re an inquiring mind that has to know!
Most folks only know their Sun signs, and have the limited experience of daily, weekly or monthly astrology columns to base their opinions of astrology on. I’m not here to steer you wrong, so, in the tradition of Paula Abduls’ infinite wisdom, I will straight-up now tell you this: Sun sign ‘scopes, are by their very nature, schlocky. The Italians don’t run around bragging about their one ingredient tomato sauce, and what kind of astrologer would I be if I didn’t tell you that your generic daily/weekly/monthly horoscope offers only a tiny fraction of what astrology is? Your job, dear reader, is to separate the wheat from the chaff. Enjoy reading your daily/weekly/monthly horoscopes but don’t confuse them with astrological readings by a learned astrologer!
That being said, who doesn’t like to indulge their astro-curiosity? You want to know, and I want to tell you, but remember that there are many astrological factors in a birth chart that can heavily change the meaning and importance of your Sun sign, so use a grain of salt and some common sense when reading your horoscopes, will ya?