In my previous post I wrote about those times when the astrology symbols jump out at you and make perfect sense.
I want to talk about the opposite experience, which also happens, but which is a bit harder to recognize and deal with.
This is where the astrology just doesn’t seem to fit.
This question occurred to me while I was playing with a new predictive technique, and had specific planetary combinations that were timed to starting a new friendship that felt important to me. The meaning of the symbols did not feel anything like how I remembered the experience.
Yes, I could make the planetary symbols fit, but when I did I found that I was perceiving the situation as much darker, heavier, more restricted, more negative, than I had previously thought of it.
At first I went along with that interpretation and tried shaping my experience to match the symbols I in front of me. But then part of me said, No, this is wrong, my experience doesn’t fit in those symbols. There is too much that it is leaving out.
That was difficult, and it took some effort and awareness on my part.
My first tendency was to assume that the astrology symbols must be correct, so I attempted to interpret my experience in those terms. In this particular situation it was a large enough mismatch that I could back off from the symbols. Had they been closer, I would likely have bent and shaped my interpretation of the situation to match the symbols. In the process there are a lot of dimensions of the experience that could have gotten lost.
I noticed my discomfort with the interpretation by a funny increase of tension in my neck, a pulling back – like part of my body’s wisdom was trying to reject the reading.
Sometimes the astrology symbolism is just right on, and sometimes it doesn’t quite fit.
There is a concept in horary of testing a chart before reading it. One of the things that you learn doing horary is that not all questions deserve to be answered, and not all charts should be read. In fact there are rules built into horary, called the considerations before judgement, which are ways of deciding whether or not you have a valid chart in front of you.
Very much depends on how the question is asked, how well the question is focused, and how important the question is to the querent or client.
In traditional horary practice, some charts should not be read. If you try to accept all horary charts you are given without discrimination, instead of getting the clear, clean, useful symbolism of a good chart, you get a bunch of muddy, so-so, not terribly useful charts. It is like a knife going blunt – horary can lose its edge, and you can start thinking it doesn’t work.
if you do astrology in public settings, like bookstores or conventions, you will also run into a similar situation, where a person comes up to you and asks to have their chart read, but the person is actually there to ridicule you or prove you wrong. The dice are loaded against a meaningful reading at that point since the person is not seeking a meaningful reading. It takes some experience to get to the point where you recognize that situation and say, No, it is not appropriate for me to read this for you. It is necessary to say no sometimes to preserve the integrity of astrology.
Sometimes, even when the situation is appropriate, there is another, more insidious aspect to this. We tend to take the symbols of astrology as authoritative, so we assume they are accurate and meaningful unless proven otherwise. Or, in some situations, we assume that our first interpretation of the symbols is accurate, and just run with it.
When there is a mismatch, the tendency is to alter the perception of the situation to fit the symbols rather than the other way around. A set of symbols is a lens, a filter, it picks out certain things and leaves out others.
We need to keep in mind that many people who come for a reading give the astrologer a great deal of authority. How you shape their reading can become the filter they accept for how they interpret their life situation.
Part of the challenge for a mature astrologer is to be constantly looking for a fit between the chart symbols and the living, aware, conscious life of the person you are reading for.
A chart reading can be used to expand and enhance the quality of your client’s life, or it can be used to restrict and exclude. There is no single set of criteria I know of to consistently judge, other than paying complete attention and being open to the feedback the person is giving you.
A lot of what you look for is related to body tension, or to what is sometimes called congruity – is what the person is saying verbally matching the non-verbal signals you are getting, or is there a conflict. Do they seem more or less relaxed, more or less whole, in response to the interpretation you offer. You develop a feel for picking up on that, in the other person, and in yourself, since often a change in tension in the subject is mirrored by a change in tension in your own body. If you pay attention to that you can get the sense to wait, to notice that something doesn’t feel quite right. That is a sign you need to back up a bit and try to sort out the contradictory symbols, see if you can figure out what is being left out.
I think it is wise, when preparing for a reading, to not get too heavily invested in a single specific interpretation of the chart. I need to leave the actual interpretation loose and flexible until the actual session.
I try to use the opening part of a reading session to offer various interpretive comments and suggestions tentatively, as starting points. I then try to be flexible enough to follow up on the comments I make that seem to really resonate, and also flexible enough to discard or change those suggestions that do not get a matching resonance.
Sometimes our astrology enhances and expands our lives, and sometimes it constricts and distorts it. We need to be self-aware enough to be able to tell the difference.