The Scarlet Letter
Volume V, Number 1 | March 1998
Column: Jewels From the Naked Brilliance
The Science & Spirit of Astrology
By Sr. Nephthys
Not being a person to take any sort of complex system lightly, I have delved deeply into Astrology. Most of my background henceforth has been in the hard sciences, largely biology and chemistry, thusly generating a hardened skeptic: if I couldnt sense it and test it, it wasnt worthy of my attention. As I studied these disciplines, I began to notice that they blended together in places. Biology became chemistry at the microscopic level, and vice versa. Chemistry became physics at the atomic level. So on and so forth. I also noticed that despite this blending, there was always a hole in the explanation of various things once a certain level of detail was reached. Scientists put on their serious faces and term those things that have yet to be solved conundrums and pursue answers with the relentless fervor of religious fanatics. Their revelations have brought monumental change to the way we live our lives, yet there remain unanswered questions.
We answer these questions by practicing whatever religion or spiritual path we happen to feel comfortable with and tapping into the current of energy that connects all living things in the Universe. Christians call it God. Muslims call it Allah. Thelemites call it Will. It cannot be measured by instruments. It can only be sensed by a living thing. While science is required to explain the things we cannot physically sense, spirituality is required to explain the things we can only feel inside. Astrology is both scientific and spiritual in its principal, which makes it fairly unique amongst most disciplines.
Several centuries ago, astronomy and Astrology were one and the same, and were respected and used by royalty and peon alike. Briefly, science and spirit were one in the Renaissance Age. Science as we know it was born out of spirit, out of things now deemed superstitious, or even Satanic. A great deal of our basic chemical knowledge comes from ancient alchemists who depended upon their fellow astrologers and studied it themselves. Almost as quickly as it was born, science severed its ties with its spiritual parents. Astrology retains its scientific elements, though. Proper calculation of charts requires knowledge of higher math functions as well as an understanding of astrophysical motion. Astrology still relies on the base measurements of astronomy to create ephemeri. Yet all the science aside, Astrology still requires basic human intuition and insight, the same kind of insight the psychologist uses to help patients overcome difficulties. There are places in Astrology where measurement stops and intuition begins. Used properly and in depth, Astrology can be a tool to show us how we interact with ourselves, as well as with other people and other situations. It is a tool for understanding strengths and weaknesses, and a map by which we can navigate our lives to our best advantage and happiness. It is one of the greatest keys to finding ones True Will. It shows us where we need to work to better ourselves, and more importantly, Astrology shows us how to fix those problems which keep us from our Will. More often than not, misunderstanding ones self leads to neglect of one or many parts of the life which may need attention, but are neglected because of the general set of should-do rules most of us have. Confusion occurs when life does not yield happiness when lived out according to plan. This confusion can be abated by using Astrology to show where neglect and imbalance is occurring, and how to rework ones life so that equilibrium is achieved. Through equilibrium comes happiness and fulfillment of the Great Work.
Astrology gives us our own personal users guide, custom written for the individual person by time, planets, and the stars. We really do come with instructions! This guide contains much, much more than the Sun. While it represents our most expressive self, it is only one of many bodies that interact in the dance that makes each of us our personal selves. Focusing on the Sun cannot do what a complete birth chart can do: create a psychological map of a human being that shows how each part of a person interacts with all the others. Recognizing the sources of separate life identities and needs gives one the power to integrate them into a working whole. However, without the birth chart or many years of psychoanalysis, it is virtually impossible to do this easily. Its like trying to put a puzzle together in the dark when you dont know what its supposed to look like. Astrology shows someone not only the nature of these different parts of the self, but how they interact with one another in positive and negative ways. It shows you what the puzzle is supposed to look like so you can begin constructing it in the light.
Why Astrology works may be something that always baffles us. It is not my belief that we are somehow influenced directly by the stars or planets, either by gravity, light, or otherwise. My own personal philosophy is that the Universe moves in cycles moving at different rates, thusly changing their relationships with each other. Yet each cycle is born out of the previous: as above, so below. Macrocosm, microcosm. The signs represent the older, most solid and slow cycles that govern the Universe on a fundamental level: it takes over 25,000 years for our entire Solar System to pass through the signs. The planets represent the newer, faster cycles that are more relative to our own immediate environments evolution, immediate being that of the Solar System. The houses represent the quick cycles of daily life (quick relative to the slowest ones), the parts of ones life that can be readily defined relative to others lives as well. The aspects represent our inner psychological cycles, the behaviors that make us who we are. The patterns in each set of cycles set the guide rules for that cycle, or the best way that cycle can be manifested. Placing all these different cycles together in one place lets one understand how there is so much variance amongst Humankind, and also how there is similarity. It links us by acknowledging that we are all part of one great scheme, and it separates us by telling us the intricacies of that scheme. Together, they represent the best way for each of us to manifest ourselves in our Universe, to manifest our Wills. Breaching the gap between science and spirit through the use of Astrology and other tools is necessary not just for the individual, but for all Humanity.