Screen Shot 2013-09-30 at 3.01.10 PMI’m yet to meet anyone who didn’t visit an even passably talented astrologer and come away gobsmacked. Things you’ve never liked or understood about yourself are explained without any whiff of pathology: this is who you are, and you’d best find ways to make it work for you.

Unlike with psychic readings, which a person can “cold read”, an astrologer can’t “cheat” astrology chart reading. Ten astrologers will give you generally identical readings, though often highly coloured by their personal values. I had one astrologer – a dynamo self-actualisation Queen – tell me my Mars/Pluto conjunction was a sign of God-Consciousness; another astrologer, more inclined to the “dark side”, informed me that Mars/Pluto in the third house with Saturn was the classic sign of a witch. I like both interpretations. But I do have of good sense of humour (and four planets in Sagittarius to prove it).

A chart reading is highly specific, and never so neutral or flattering that it might apply to anyone other than you. I don’t know all that many people who would enjoy being called a witch (the secret’s finally out), or for whom God-Consciousness would have any special resonance. My chart explains my obsession with beauty and creativity: something that wouldn’t apply to many of the people I know.

How could the planets affect us?

Astrology was something I didn’t want to believe had any power, but I was given no choice. It always proved itself right and me wrong. My father’s an astrologer and became one himself in the attempt to disprove it.

Jung used astrology as a shortcut for getting to know his patients, and I take a leaf out of his book, paying careful attention to the astrology charts of new friends and associates. Any time I’ve ignored a chart reading, it has been to my detriment. Often begrudgingly I now let myself see the truth about people – I might be delusional, but a chart doesn’t lie. There are no bad charts, but the way. Every chart is perfect. There are simply healthy and unhealthy ways of expressing/repressing our natural energy. Your chart isn’t responsible – it simply tells you your strengths, your passions, your affinities, and what you really want from people and life.

When it comes to the science, I think woman have a more natural appreciation for how the moon’s affects them via their cycles. Psychiatric ward nurses are the first to observe that patients become more frenzied with a full moon. The moon shifts the ocean, and no doubt makes light work of affecting the highly delicate and sensitive machines that are our human bodies.

What if all the planets were affecting us as much as the moon? How could they not? I have the feeling that when we are born, we embody the dynamic between these energies as they interact at that exact moment. Those energies imprint us deeply at the moment when we come into being, because they are the first energies we encounter.

I’m comfortable with this philosophy: there’s so much I don’t understand about energy fields, energy medicine and cosmic rays that I’m prepared to suspend disbelief and let astrology speak for itself. If it wasn’t so damned clever I wouldn’t waste my time.

What astrology brings that therapy doesn’t

Astrology tells you what your needs are. It doesn’t condemn you as being a show off because you feel an inexplicable craving to have an audience (Leo); it doesn’t view having a need to constant stimulation and fun (Sagittarius) as a sign of your childhood rejections and family dynamic. Yes, therapy can be incredibly powerful, but I’ve done arguably more for myself by learning that to express my full potential I must take my needs seriously, without regard for anything else. Astrology can teach you this.

An astrology chart will tell you what you need to feel good, and what you need to overcome to become strong. You will know these things already, but might suspect that your challenges are something that is happening to you, rather than being part of a dynamic you are creating because of who you are.

Your chart will tell you that in order to feel good you need to have a large circle of friends, or that you naturally don’t have any need for friends and that this is perfectly fine. It will explain why you get bored so often with your relationships, or why you are the type to never change relationships until death do you part. Rather than thinking that there is something wrong with you for either reason, you can see who you are and what you can’t but help wanting, even if those desired run highly contrary to what people think is acceptable or possible. When you learn what you need, you learn what you must do: and if it seems like getting those needs met is impossible it dawns on you that impossible is not an option – to be happy you have no choice but to move mountains to get what you need to feel satisfied. Whether that is a place in the limelight, or a place in the mountains (or both, depending on the week) – you need to know what you need, and be committed to meeting those needs, before you can make life a satisfying experience.

This is a very beautiful process, and few things are so empowering. Astrology helps you to own your truth. At last you can claim who you really are. Not who you think you are, or who someone else thinks you should be (actually you can see this too by looking at particular placements, and then chose how to deal with it.) You can get to know your strengths, your weaknesses, and how to integrate those weaknesses so they become strengths.

The lovely thing about astrology is that you don’t compare yourself to anyone else. You learn about you and what works best for you. Not everyone is supposed to be ambitious, house proud, a great communicator with five hundred best friends.

Astrology brings self-awareness and dissolves confusion. With a good astrologer your level of self-awareness can explode.

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Astrology basics

Here’s a few things you need to know about astrology:

– birth time, to the five minute increment, is very important. This will determine your rising sign and the placement of your planets in the houses – two of the most critical determinants of character in astrology. Rising sign is the sign rising to the east at the time you were born. It tells you most about a person’s charisma and general energy – much more than a sun sign will. I have Leo as my rising sign, so I appear fun, flamboyant and creative; but Capricorn is my sun sign (star sign), so deep down I am very serious and determined. Both of these energies will combine in a unique way: the combination of a person’s sun sign with their rising sign is very telling.

– birth place is very important: the astrology chart will be drawn with the planets’ positions relative to your exact longitude and latitude at birth. A birth chart is a map of the planets at the exact time you were born, relative to your position, so that position is an important factor. Someone born at the same time as you 1000 kms away will have a different chart.

– planets are situated in signs (Aries, Taurus), and they are also situated in Houses. Mars, for instance, might be in Libra and the 3rd House. This will have a very specific and different meaning to Mars in Libra in the 1st House.

– everyone will think you’re crazy for being interested in astrology. Try and recruit a few friends so you can share your newfound passion with them – once you see how marvellously it works you’ll find a lot of things in your life changing – and, it’s wonderful if you can take even just one friend along with you.

How can you learn more about astrology?

I recommend the brilliant book Making The Gods Work For You: well-written, enlightening and empowering.

Cafe Astrology is a fun sight for beginners to get a free, computer generated reading: an enlightening experience for many! I recommend it to friends and they are always impressed.

If you want to see an astrologer at her very best, you must follow and subscribe to Mystic Medusa: her daily blog posts are completely brilliant, witty and and resonate with power. I subscribe to her site and her daily emails are always the first ones I open.

Tell me: how as astrology helped you? Have you used it for increased self-awareness?

Image via Mystic Medusa -Lyon, Bibliothèque municipale, (Capricorn). Book of Hours (15th-16th century)