Yes, we have all heard the clamor about having to re-do the Zodiac. As many experts have stepped up and announced that we need to change everything, I have sat back and had a good laugh. There is no argument about the shift of the constellations around our globe, but changing Astrology?
First, let us consider what these symbols actually represent: the wheel of the year based on the seasons described as pictographs representing both a time of year and a personality trait.
The calender had been divided into seasons: each season described as been segmented into three bands: Cardinal (Activating), Fixed (Solid, grounded), and Mutable (adaptability). A good example of this is Spring: it begins with Aries: busting in like a ram on a mission. Taurus settles in and Spring is in full swing. The the transition to summer begins as Spring rounds it’s last house of Gemini. By looking at the Zodiac, we see a description of our year as the Earth makes it’s journey around the Sun. By watching how the stars move through the sky, it was easy to see correlations between these “months” and the position of the stars to the sun.
It is a fascinating thing to observe modern psychology grow and develop. The “hard science” extends from human behavior and conditioning to brain studies and is extremely complex. “Pop” psychology has a tendency to divide people into basic stereotypes: Alpha and Beta. You are either a “dominant” personality or you do what you are told. As we dig deeper we see so many variables (childhood, parenting – or lack of it, income, race) it gets muddy pretty quickly.
Before Jung and Freud, there were few words to describe personality traits unless you relied on Astrology. There we find Twelve “basic” personality types, each cut into a multiple subgroups, degrees of intensity, crossing paths like a kaleidoscope of color. Because Physiologists of the early 20th century had a tendency to look at themselves as Scientists rather than Artists; the “millions of colors” provided in the Astrological palette was shunned rather than embraced. Worse: the community who understood Astrology for what it really is, avoided discussing any of it with those in the Universities.
So, the question come forth, what is it: really?
Astrology is a language which describes the Human condition and has provided a vast “database” of experiences of those who have used it. With this language we can then come to a better understanding as to what is happening and what our choices are. When attempting to discover “the right thing to do” astrologers have calculated “right action” in difficult situations for centuries.
In the old days, an Oracle would learn when you were born and where; but didn’t stop there. More information was needed: who are your parents? What kind of situation are you living in now? The Oracle would see what you were wearing, your jewelry, your food and so on. It was extremely “holistic”. All of this information was then compounded and a prescription of conduct was then prescribed. Astrology was but a small tool in the box. Yes there were specialists, but Dr. John Dee was an exception rather than the rule.
Now, Astrology is treated like a basic computer game: what is your sign? Here is your forecast. When we consult an Oracle, it is usually at a time of crisis and we want answers. Most of us are in a panic and really don’t care how one gets the right answer, we just want it. It reminds me of a story my Father once told me of a woman in his congregation back in Houston in the 50s. She consulted the Bible everyday for her forecast. She would close her eyes and give a prayer, ask her question, open the Book at a random place and point. There on the page would be her answer. “How accurate was this?” I asked him and looked at me in surprise: “Well, most of the time it seemed to work for her, however she did wind up buying a lot of shoes because the Bible told her to do so.” The Bible was not intended to be an Oracle, but it is an amazing thing that we may harness things in this way. Astrology may be applied in many ways, not always as it is intended. However the modern use of Astrology (the newspaper’s “Daily Forecast”) is a shadow compared to it’s actual use and purpose.
So, the Solar System has moved though our galaxy, the orbit of the planet around the sun has given us a different view of the stars but we still have the same seasons: Spring always starts like a Ram making a new door (usually right next to the old one). Should we now change the language, the symbols, the ways we describe our world and ourselves because of the latest media hype about the placement of the Zodiac? Yes, it is a silly question. The forces of nature have remained the same, only our perception of those forces has changed. I will continue to use the Old Language “as it is” to describe my Tarot Amulets and my Zodiac Collection.
However, here is a more serious one:
Astrology holds a mirror for us to see our strengths and weakness. It says “Your are here”, simply a starting line. Oracles ask “You have all of these tools to work within this environment, what do you choose to do?” Possibly the most subversive question offered. It doesn’t say a deity has a plan for you, no Destiny to fulfill, no Fate. “You are in control of your life, what do you choose?”