Like all things numinous and mysterious, the point of astrology is not always something that can be put into words. It’s poetic, it’s slantwise, it’s a feeling, an image, a fleeting thing. And just when you think you have it all pinned down and neatly explained, the meaning slips away.
In ancient times, when people visited the most famous oracle in the Western world, at Delphi on the Greek mainland, they climbed up and up a rugged winding path. On arrival they were greeted with stunning works of art, a gorgeous view, incense, chanting and profound mystery.
Three things were carved in stone at Delphi.
Nothing in excess.
Make a pledge and mischief ensues.
and most pertinently to this post
– Know thyself.
Those three thoughts were to be held in the mind as you consulted the oracle… and indeed they are just as useful now, when we think about astrology.
We humans are such evanescent, changing things. We evolve, we grow or even, we diminish. The world slips by, shimmers, shifts. And we find ourselves different. Can we truly know each self that we become? The truth is that in each of us, there is always mystery, always something as unknowable as the deepest blue of space.
And our world now is full of so much white noise that it’s hard to know ourselves.
We live in a bright land of marketing, swift imagery, where dreams pour out of a tiny screen as small as the palm of your hand, where words and music stream past us as we move through shops, cafes, cars. Those dreams are someone else’s though – and if some of your dreams are someone else’s, how hard does it become to know your own? And if you have trouble knowing which of your desires are yours, and which are planted by the marketing man or the mournful keen of the music maker, then how difficult is it to know what to do with your life?
Know yourself, understand your desires, keep your feet on the ground, allow yourself to grow and change. That is where astrology comes in.
Yet astrology is not an excuse or even, often an explanation, for our behaviour. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard someone say something like this: “I’m a Scorpio so I never forgive or I have the Moon in Pisces so I can’t help feeling sorry for everyone.”
Knowing your chart does not give you an excuse note to give to teacher. “Sorry I screwed up my life because I have Pluto-Neptune conjunction.” That won’t wash. Knowing your chart shows you the path to leading the best life you can (in the circumstances).
The fact is, some people have an easier life than others. If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably one of the privileged of the planet, with a roof over your head and the next meal certain to come. But that doesn’t mean you haven’t got your tribulations – death, divorce, disease, dismay and confusion. Heartache, loneliness and desolation – all the swaddling in the world cannot protect you. Most of all you may simply be asking yourself this: What am I doing here?
Understanding the messages of your natal chart and the meaning of the transits to your chart makes everything so much clearer. It’s rarely completely sharp-edged, but we all need to retain soft-focus somewhere, we need to acknowledge and allow the inner mystery.
Self-knowledge is the gift of astrology. Use it wisely.