I was on the phone a while ago with someone who is probably one of the least woo-woo people I know. He doesn’t even like mainstream church. He is, however, very tolerant of ME, probably because he’s my brother. He was telling me something about being emotional about something (a movie? can’t remember) and I said, “Well, you *DO* have your Sun in Pisces AND your Moon in Cancer so that would make you EXTRA empathetic and sensitive.”
He laughed at me and said, “Yeah. OK” and I said, “You should let me read your chart.” and he said something like, “Why would a…well, a normal person like me… want you to do that?” I am sure said something really obnoxious about his being “normal”, but after we got off the phone I thought about his question and thought I could take it seriously and answer it here.
This is my personal outlook regarding astrology – other people use it in other ways that makes sense to them – but what follows comes from my best understanding of astrology as an art and science that I have been studying for the majority of my adult life (and continue to study, there’s no finish line here!).
First, I gotta talk about energy. I know that sounds woo-woo and New Age, “good vibes, man” but anybody who passed high school science knows that everything is made up of energy – atoms vibrating at different rates of speed so that some things are hard and solid (rocks, wood, my sister Amy’s early brownie attempts) and other things are soft and pliable (water, air, marshmallow Fluff) and everything in between. These are just some of the very many energies of life itself. This life energy can be affected by other life energies – heating water creates steam, freezing water creates ice, adding Kool-aid to water makes it cherrylicious, you know what I mean. Thoughts are energy. Reiki harnesses universal life energy to trigger our own personal healing energy when we receive it. And we humans are made up of all kinds of life energy, and express these energies very differently from each other.
Some people are more serious minded, some are lighthearted sparklefaires, some are low-key feisty with placid surfaces. Every person has their own thing going on. I believe our natal chart can help map our personal energies and explain personality traits as well as show us our tendencies and challenges and gifts. I also believe it can even point to our soul’s mission here on Earth. Astrology is a tool to help us understand ourselves a little better and maybe guide us toward some clarity of purpose.
The chart system I use (Tropical) is geocentric – meaning is based upon us looking out into the stars from the Earth. If you can imagine a large wheel cut into 12 slices superimposed over the skies, and then picture each planet falling into a certain geometric position in this circle at different points of time, our chart is like a picture of the exact position of each luminary and planet at the date/time of our birth from the perspective of where we are born. We know the planets are always in motion in their orbit around the Sun, everything is always in motion.
The position of these planets in the wheel determine what sign they are in. Each “slice” is a represented by a one of the 12 zodiac signs. Each zodiac sign is an archetype of different kinds of energies. Each planet moves through each of the signs as they orbit our Sun. The planet is considered “in” the sign depending on where in the orbit the planet happens to be. The premise is that when we are born we are imprinted with the energies of the planets in the signs in that moment, and that particular energetic “map” affects our personalities.* Our chart is like a snapshot of that moment.
Our chart shows us what signs and what houses** the planets and luminaries were in when we were born. Each luminary and planet has its particular kind of energy, and each of the 12 signs of the zodiac has their own particular kind of energy. I usually describe the combination of these energies like lenses one on top of the other, like an exam at the eye doctor’s office. We perceive something one way until another lens is placed over it and then it changes that vision a little bit. That is why a person with their Jupiter in Leo is going to have a much different set of energies than a person with Jupiter in Pisces. The Jupiter energy is one of expansion, good luck, and where things go easy for us — to have that energy through Leo would make us extroverted, generous, quick to laugh, charismatic with a flair for the dramatic and maybe a little excessive sometimes. That Jupiter energy expressed through Pisces would make us highly sensitive deep feelers, dreamy, intuitive, romantic and caring and could also make us prone to escapism and indecisiveness.
With millions of possible combinations, our natal charts are as individual as we are, I like to call it a Cosmic Fingerprint.
A lot of people come to me for a reading for entertainment – it’s fun to hear what someone else has to say about ourselves. Many people come just to see what I have to say, if it helps them understand themselves a little better or if it validates something they know deep inside. Some people come because they feel lost and need a little direction, or they’re having a hard time making a decision about something, or they feel they’re at a crossroads. A reading can be enlightening and it can be healing.
So why should a non-woo-woo normal person get an astrological chart reading? I don’t think anybody “should”. I hate SHOULDS….but they could. They could get some insight into their inner workings, they could uncover a buried dream, they could get some guidance towards aligning themselves with their soul’s purpose. A reading could tell them why they fall in love with ONE kind of person but are wildly attracted to a totally different kind of person, they can find out why it doesn’t seem to matter what kind of job or career they have. A reading can point out where they seem to keep hitting a wall and what they must focus on to overcome this issue within themselves in order to live their best life. Getting a reading BEFORE going into therapy could also point out exactly where someone should focus once they’re on the couch! A reading can show us our core issues, our core desires, and even stuff that might surprise us. A compatibility reading is when we look at two charts side by side and we can determine if the couple are totally made for each other or if it’s going to be require a bit of work to understand each other [usually those charts are between people who are passionately attracted to each other but fight a lot, and it’s ALWAYS about communication!] We can also look at where the planets are right now and how these energies directly affect us based upon where these planets are moving through our birth chart — that’s a lot more personal than checking our Sun sign’s horoscope in the paper.
Long story short? (too late) A reading can help you see who you are, where you want to go, and what you might need to do to get there. Astrology is a tool humans have used for millennia.
After a chart reading you can relax and know, “Hey, I feel everybody else’s feelings because my Moon is in Cancer” or “My ambitious nature isn’t some freaky aberration, I’m loaded with Cardinal signs” or “I’ve always felt called to help people! Sun in the 6th house!” But hey, don’t be one of those people who says, “I’m a huge ragemonster because my Mars is square my Pluto. Sorry not sorry!” We don’t excuse our shadow behavior with astrological placements!*** I mean, our placements can explain it, but it’s then UP TO US to learn how to work with these shadow energies so we aren’t huge jerks to our brother and sister humans out there…remember, we’re all walking each other home 😀
*A word about Free Will. We have it. It was a gift from our Creator. I always say, if there’s something in your chart that you don’t like, go ahead and CHANGE it. I don’t think our chart says who we are is carved in stone, immutable. We are not meant to be unchangeable, our souls are here to grow and evolve, so I approach the chart more like a blueprint written in pencil than some kind of a mandate. What we do with the energies we’re born with is COMPLETELY up to us. Plus there’s nature vs. nurture — culture and environment has so much to do with our personalities, too, and we can’t discount the differences in generation, gender, race, and ethnicity that influences our outlooks. Astrology is a tool to help us navigate some of that stuff, but it’s not THE ANSWER or the ONLY thing. It’s merely one socket wrench in our Craftsman rolly-chest of life.
** Your House system is another wheel with 12 slices, each slice represents an area of human life, like home and family, career and public image, creative expression, money and stuff, etc. Our personal house systems are based upon where the Sun was in the sky and the angle it was in relationship to the Earth at the time of day we were born. That is why it’s very important to know the birth time as accurately as possible. The Ascendant (or Rising Sign) is the ruler of our 1st house and is based upon that calculation. Since the Sun goes through each sign every two hours – not knowing the exact time can throw off the whole chart and make the reading less accurate.
***I see A LOT of this nonsense on the internet. You’re not a jerk because your Moon is in Gemini, you’re a jerk because you’re not doing anything TO NOT BE A JERK, take some personal responsibility, internet weenies!