Older astrology is sometimes criticized as being overly negative, or fatalistic, or judgemental.
It seems to me that some modern astrology has gone too far in the other direction – in the name of being ‘positive’ it can become unrealistic and unbalanced.
It might be true to say that there are no ‘good’ or ‘evil’ planets, or transits, or aspects.
I was in an astrology class where we were discussing house meanings. One student described the sixth house as being the house of health. I responded, no, traditionally it has to do with sickness, or health problems. The other student responded by saying, it’s important to be Positive.
No. Not if that means, being unrealistic.
Yes it is good to focus on keeping healthy. This does not mean that nobody ever gets sick.
Yes it is good to focus on life. This does not mean that nobody ever dies.
It may be true that, say, a Saturn square Mars transit is not inherently Evil or Bad. Maybe. But it sure isn’t any fun, and at the least it brings increased tension, possibility of conflict, possibility of health problems or accidents. To pretend that those are not possibilities, in the name of being Positive, does not do anyone any good.
Life is not linear or one-sided. You can not have only Life without Death; only Youth without Age; only Health without the possibility of Sickness; only Wealth without the possibility of Poverty; only Growth without Decline. Life on this planet doesn’t work this way, and to pretend it does, in the name of being Positive, does not do anybody any good.
About older astrology being too ‘negative’ – I’ll give an example. I have Sun and Mercury in Pisces, and back in the eighties I was told that this meant that I was Deeply Spiritual, Highly Evolved, Psychic, and had a strongly developed intuition.
I wish someone had also mentioned that this meant I could also be lazy, spacy, self-indulgent, arrogant, unrealistic, unable to concentrate, with a tendency to start things without following through, and so on. Those comments are not ‘negative’ or evil – they are useful feedback as to possible weaknesses I would have to work with.
No, it is not true that life will always be wonderful if we Only Believe. Life on this planet doesn’t work that way.
When I read a chart, I want to try to be as realistic as I can in recognizing where there are challenges or events that could be, shall we say, less than pleasant. I think there can be a way of talking about ‘negative’ events that is neither judgemental or fatalistic, but that can be positive in the sense of preparing to deal with challenging events in a way that can draw good out of them.
This doesn’t mean that nobody ever has to deal with sickness or death. It does mean that sickness and death are not evil, and that much good can come from dealing with them well.
We do not live our lives in a Positive Thinking vacuum, and it is not true that we can have only “good” things happen to us if we Only Think Positively. Life is far more complex and challenging, and interesting, than that.
We live our lives within the context of a larger order that we are part of, and we do not have control, or sometimes any choice, about where we fit in that order.
We do have control over our attitude, our response, how we deal with the events we find ourselves in.
I’ll use a metaphor my daughter gave me – we have no control over the hand we are dealt. But, we have a choice as to how we play that hand.
My thanks to the stoic philosophers Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus for helping me think this through, and for helping me realize that acknowledging and accepting ALL events and working with them, can be the most truly positive attitude possible.