Stoicism and Mental Hygiene

Changing to the practice of traditional astrology, is part of an overall shift in worldview that has been going on in my life for some years now. In order to really explain, I need to share some personal background.

I became increasingly serious about my study of astrology during the period that my wife of 24 years was dying of cancer.

During that same period I was fortunate (actually, I think I was fated) to discover Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus. Stoic philosophy, and the mental and spiritual discipline it involved, became a practical and functional daily discipline in my life, during the period when my wife was receiving treatment for the cancer, and especially during the last three months of her life when the treatment was discontinued, and I stayed at home and cared for her in a home hospice setting until her death.

I had a mental hygiene discipline routine straight out of Epictetus that I went through that went something like this:

Okay, Cindy is dying. How much control do I have over that?  Exactly zero. Is it worth investing energy and worry in something  that I have no control over? No. What do I have control over? How I  react; how I treat Cindy; how I can make her environment as  positive and loving as possible to maximize the quality of the time  we have left. Okay, then do it.

I repeated that series of mental steps very often to keep myself in  as focused and functional a state as possible.

I also took quite a bit of comfort from the Stoic notion that there is an overall rational order to the Universe. If there is, then Cindy’s illness and death is part of that order. There were periods in the final weeks of her life where it felt like we were living characters in a novel that had already been written, and the date of Cindy’s death was already on the calendar. We were part of a well-written script. I felt, and still feel, like my own death is already on that calendar a couple of chapters further on.

That last three months of Cindy’s life was the peak of our life together. I think that it may have been the peak, even the purpose,  of my life.

The last two years of my life, since Cindy’s death, and my increasingly intense study of astrology, is part of a larger process that is an assimilation and internalization of that overarching rational Stoic worldview, that took me through Cindy’s death, and  that now is becoming a coherent pattern applying to more and more  parts of my life.

The AFA convention on traditional astrology I was at this past  September was a big part of that shift. On the plane on the way  home I started doing charts with whole sign houses and just  traditional delineation, making a break from the modern astrological  style I had first learned. It became very clear that this was not just a  shift of houses, but a shift in worldview – a shift in technique and  perspective that aligns with the core principles of a Stoic worldview.

It feels like coming out of a fog, and healing an internal inconsistency or cognitive dissonance.

I think that traditional astrology, and the worldview it embodies, has a lot to offer our modern world. I think a lot of our culture is caught up in playing mind-games that try to fake reality by refusing to admit unpleasant facts, or attempting to “create change” by pretending things one doesn’t like don’t exist. An astrology that refuses to admit anything negative, or that whitewashes death as ‘regeneration’, is part of that refusal to face reality.

We can’t afford that.

Being a practitioner of traditional astrology, I feel like I am part of a group that has a very important and powerful message for people in our rapidly shifting modern world.

We need astrologers who aren’t trying to fake reality, and who are working to perceive and align themselves with a larger rational world order.


Comments

Stoicism and Mental Hygiene — 2 Comments

  1. Hi Charlie, I’m very glad that I’ve found your site.
    I’m too in shifting from modern into traditional astrology and I also have noticed that the philosophy of Seneca is more appropriate in aligning the views on destiny of the medieval and early Hellenistic astrologers to that of the Stoics.
    This shift in my self happened in times when I have read the predictive charts of my family members (especially my father’s and mother’s) and in that delineation I understood that I must face the fact that someday in the future they will be gone out of my life. At first this was a frightening experience, but with time I learned to accept whatever destiny has ‘wrote’ for them/us. I too believe that there is a Divine Order in this Universe and everything is happening in its proper time. I guess I was at the door of facing one of the greatest fears in predictive astrology: facing/seeing the death in the future.
    Keep going with your wonderful posts!

    Best regards,
    Ile

  2. Hello Charlie, It is 3am, and I stumbled upon your blog looking for basic chart information as I am learning, slowly, about traditional astrology. I buried my first wife in 03, and my second in 2012, this sent me searching for answers, hence why I am here. Thank you for your candor, and courage to write what you have. I look forward to more, and will search out those authors you mentioned.
    Thank you again.
    Rodney~

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