Astrology is both a science and an art. It is a symbolic representation of all of the elements—religious, spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical, invisible and visible—that exist in the universe and come together in diverse combinations that account for individual human beings and the forces that shape and act upon them. We are microcosms manifesting the macrocosm, an ancient concept set forth in the Bible as Man made in the image of God.
Astrological interpretation relies heavily on an informed intuition and a familiarity, gained from practice and time, with the complex and multilayered meanings underlying its seemingly simple symbology. Interpreting a horoscope is partly science, partly intuitive discipline, and ultimately a synthesis of both. The particular reading will reflect the personality and outlook of the astrologer in much the same way as a psychologist’s analysis is also colored by his or her personal views.
Astrology tells us that as individuals we are peculiar and particular, while at the same time a direct manifestation of a cosmic whole to which we are inexorably linked. It reminds us that we are bound to the karmic wheel, that we come into the world with special gifts as well as certain burdens and travails. On the surface it can appear to tell us that our fortunes and our personalities are preordained, that our fates are completely in the hands of the gods. But a man’s character is his fate, the Greek philosopher Heracleitus tells us, and in the end there is no disguising or excusing who we are.
Correctly understood and applied, a horoscope is a precise instrument based on real forces, events, and relationships occurring in nature. It is, most importantly, a diagram of an individual’s purpose in life and a symbolic language that describes how different factors—signs, planets, and houses—are combined to produce a meaningful whole. Each horoscope is a complex combination of factors, a graphic depiction of a particular determining and synchronistic moment in time and space when the bodies of the solar system form a unique pattern. The art of astrological analysis lies in intuitively synthesizing all the relationships in the horoscope to create a complete and integrated picture or profile.
In reading any horoscope, it is important to remember that the energies symbolized by the planets and signs represent birth potentials that the individual may or may not choose to actualize in the manner described. Age, sex, socioeconomic conditions, education, environment, spiritual development, and many other factors contribute to the ways in which we express our natal energies.
Astrology does not preclude personal willpower, selfdetermination, and dynamic action upon those very forces that seem to have cosmically preordained who we are and what we are to become. What it presents us with are the lessons we need to learn within this particular turn of the Great Wheel, along with our innate potential, in order to become and ultimately be. How well we learn these lessons and gain from them is up to us as individuals.
We are all, in a sense, Odysseus using all of his courage, guile, strength, and wits to defy Poseidon (the god of the sea), of whom he’d made an enemy, in order to simply get home. How well the lessons are learned is not the responsibility of the teacher, who simply presents them for what they are and moves on. It relies solely on the intelligence, receptivity, perception, and tenacity of the pupil.