Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Value of Myth

On numerous occasions I use the statement, “We all believe what we need to believe in order to make it through the Night.” It is a foundational assumption that I carry so that I can make sense of the world. It functions to help me understand that other’s beliefs are just as valid and helpful to them as my beliefs are to me.

For instance, I have a large number of friends, acquaintances, and clients who hold tightly to a rather uncomplicated belief – In a distant past, an immortal god not unlike the Greek Zeus, seeded a mortal virgin who then gave birth to a Divine child who would be groomed to be sacrificed to save humanity for all times from its sinfulness. This story works very well for them, giving their lives meaning and purpose.

I have seen this rather simple story deeply transform lives in a very positive fashion. Of course, I have also seen people, especially in prison, seriously embrace Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism resulting in similar life changing transformations.

There is something wonderful and powerful about devotion to a workable myth. And lest you be alarmed, I use the word, myth, not as a false story but in its more technical sense as a set of narratives engaged by a person or culture to make sense and meaning out of what appears at times to be a senseless, random, or purposeless universe. These myths can provide great comfort to their believers whether they see themselves held safe in the arms of Jesus, righteously living by the Torah, or following the four noble truths of the Buddha.
We all carry cultural, familial, and personal myths by which we live our lives. Cultural myths are beliefs like “Everyone wants our freedoms,” “America is always on the side of Right,”  “America is #1!” and “God blesses America.” Family myths are statements like, “The Smiths don’t divorce,” and “All the Johnson family go to college.” And of course, personal myths are beliefs like, “I’ll never amount to anything,” “I am one good looking catch,” or “Women just don’t like me so I never approach them.” The reader can readily see how these sorts of beliefs shape our realities and limit the potentially wide field of experience available to each of us in going about the business of our lives.

This is where astrology excels by presenting us with a marvelously rich field of symbols and metaphors with layered meanings by which we may discover and explore the stories that help guide our choices and often keep us locked in to unproductive and unsatisfying self-narratives. One does not have to believe in astrology for it to be useful any more than you have to believe in arithmetic to accurately balance a checkbook. It is simply a tool for personal exploration, a model for understanding human reality.

Forget the silliness about stars influencing your life, horoscope columns, and astrologers predicting the future, visit me at AstroCare.net for a different perspective.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Astrology updated

It's been awhile since I felt I had anything to say.
What follows are several ideas that I wish to share with readers. Please do not suppose that I am claiming that they are actually the truth of things. My position is simply one among many models for understanding what it is to be human and astrology’s relation to it. Various models for understanding acquire their value not from their truth qualities but from their usefulness in helping people get along in their world. After all, we all believe what we need to believe in order to make it through the Night.
Astrology is a discipline that provides a framework for imagining a profound intimacy between a person and their world. This relationship can be discerned by examining the architecture of the birth moment as mirrored by the pattern occurring in the sky.
The astrological natal chart is polysemous in nature. Not only is it a two-dimensional graphic representation of the planets in the sky as seen from a particular time and location on earth, a frozen instance in the processual nature of reality as it were, that demarcates a relatively enduring, pattern of intra and inter-relationships that we call an organism.
 The chart is also regarded by some astrologers as a set of cosmic instructions, a roadmap, an image of the seed potential of the person whose birth it reflects, and can also be imagined as a reflection of a coherent and fluid sense of self with multiple organizing centers (planets) in relation to one another (aspects) that have a host of perspectives (signs) contained in various life contexts (houses) and situated within the parameters of moment and place. It is an image of psyche reflecting the interiority and exteriority of the person.
The idea of a single organizing Self is deemphasized in favor of a polycentric self or community of selves. There is no grand solitary overarching control center. The person as a quantum of unique experience, whose chart is a mirror for every existential situation, is seen as a focused expression of the local environment. Furthermore, in contrast to Sartre, existence and essence arise mutually. Another way of saying this is, body and soul, two sides of the same coin, begin in the same moment. There is no preexisting essence incarnating nor is there a disembodied essence surviving death. As the newborn emerges out of this world into this life the first breath that sets the organism apart from its previous environment immediately sets up unique circulatory, respiratory, cardiac, gastrointestinal, renal, hepatic, and immunological changes that shift the organism from a state of dependency to a state of greater independence.
As it turns out then, astrology is a discipline that is not so much to help us improve ourselves or to allow us to catch a glimpse of what may be around the bend but rather astrology provokes us to ask, “How are we relating to this present moment, how are we engaged with this one and only life?”
Visit me at AstroCare.net