April 20, 2014

Musings on Astrology

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I see astrology as a source of inspiration and exploration. I believe the twelve zodiac signs represent personality archetypes that relate to imagery from what Carl Jung coined the collective unconscious. Here, in his own words, is Carl Jung on astrology: 
"Astrology is one of the intuitive methods like the I Ching, geomantics, and other divinatory procedures. It is based upon the synchronicity principle, i.e. meaningful coincidence. ... Astrology is a naively projected psychology in which the different attitudes and temperaments of man are represented as gods and identified with planets and zodiacal constellations."
"The collective unconscious...appears to consist of mythological motifs or primordial images, for which reason the myths of all nations are its real exponents. In fact the whole of mythology could be taken as a sort of projection of the collective unconscious. We can see this most clearly if we look at the heavenly constellations, whose originally chaotic forms are organized through the projection of images. This explains the influence of the stars as asserted by astrologers. These influences are nothing but unconscious, introspective perceptions of the collective unconscious."
Medieval Arab astrologer in a manuscript from the Bod (via)
Here's what I do and don't believe about astrology:
I don't believe that astrology... 
  • can predict the future. (I have absolutely zero belief whatsoever in divination of any kind.) 
  • should be taken too seriously. (I don't believe in taking anything too seriously!) 
I don't read my daily horoscope and find pranks by the Amazing Randi hilarious. 
But I do believe in astrology nonetheless. I believe astrology provides:
  • a form of symbols-based personal psychology.
  • counterparts to the traditional Freudian tropes of the id, ego and superego. (That is the extent of my belief in Freudian psychology, fwiw.) 
  • a language and set of symbols useful for introspection and self exploration. 
  • symbols which help us delve into our fertile but cryptic subconscious minds in order to understand or solve personal dilemmas. These same symbols also help us feel a greater sense of connectedness to the universe at large. 
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Skeptics will say that astrology is not a science. No, it is not. Neither are literature, painting, philosophy or meditation. Astrology, like so many other wonderful "disciplines", is an art to be interpreted by the individual. 

I am especially interested in astrology's use of the four elements (fire, earth, air and water) and related symbolism as they relate to personal psychology and personal style (more in later posts!). 
These earrings represent the 4 elements used in astrology, a blatant example of imagery from the collective unconscious
(for sale via)
I use astrology as a tool for my personal benefit because otherwise, why bother?! For example, my sun sign (ego) is in Aries, ruled by the warrior god Mars. I am, in fact, a passionate, fired-up individual and meditate on the image of Mars to channel my Aries energy into my activism. 
Zodiac Man by the Limbourg brothers ca. 1400 (via)

So do I find that my astrological chart describes me accurately? Actually, for the most part, yes. For the record, I'm an Aries sun (ego), Cancer rising (superego) and Scorpio moon (id). Could it all be charming coincidence? Sure, but so what?  

Because at the heart of it all, I study astrology, tarot and new age in general, in the spirit of  creativity, introspection and, most of all, fun. "And, of course, everyone knows, fun rules." -- Waking Life

So, readers, what are you thoughts on astrology? Do you treat it like religion or mumbo jumbo? I'd love to hear your reactions to this post in the comments! 
--m
PS: Most of what I said also applies to my thoughts on tarot.

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