This came in a newsletter from jyotishi David Goldstein Ph.D.. As I mention jyotish occasionally, I thought it worth sharing.
Every year, I try to set the record straight in my newsletter, in regard to erroneous perceptions and misunderstandings about the planets, Vedic Astrology and how this system works. If ever there is a body of knowledge that is completely misunderstood by the majority, it is “Astrology.”
Without the proper understanding and framework, it is difficult to accurately integrate and use the information that is gleaned from individual astrological charts. The following commentary is a reminder to all and hopefully serves to shed some light and perspective on the subject. In the interest of clarifying this matter:
First, the “planets” don’t harm you and they don’t do anything to you personally. The planetary conditions in your astrological chart represent your consciousness. The planets don’t have anything against us or for us, and while they all have different qualities and natures and specific manifestations, they don’t cause pain or gain. “You” are completely responsible for your own reality and your life. You are not a victim of the planets or of your astrological chart, anymore than a mirror is responsible for your physical appearance. The chart represents “you” and the unfolding of your karmas and when they will fructify. Each of us is responsible for creating the chart we have.
Often, people ask, “What are the planets doing to me?” as if we are puppets being controlled by the planets. “Why are things so difficult in my life? It must be because I have bad planets.” These statements come out of ignorance and a misunderstanding of Vedic Astrology. Unfortunately, the specific words used to describe what the planets “indicate” in a chart may be confusing and lead one to believe that he has no control whatsoever about events that transpire and how to make decisions in response. As if we are all enslaved by the planets… Nothing could be further from the truth.
The astrological chart is a sacred representation of your complete personality, how you perceive the world, where you are stuck and blind, where you are powerful and wise, where you are going to get caught up emotionally, where you are weak, where you are strong, what talents you possess, what problems are likely to show up and when, etc. These qualities and tendencies are “reflected” through the complete individual astrological chart, not just one section of the chart, but the ENTIRE chart. How you respond to this information is completely up to you. Your psychological status will determine how you perceive the world, work through your problems, and how you respond to stress and other concerns.
The benefit of learning about yourself, via the interpretation of your astrological chart, is that you can potentially gain a deeper understanding of aspects of yourself that you may have rejected, denied or not acknowledged previously. The exact direction of your life is not completely pre-determined. You clearly have a history, genetic profile, and certain potentials or lack thereof that you bring into this lifetime.
The question remains, “What are you going to do with the information?” Will you dig yourself deeper into a karmic hole or raise yourself to a new level of awareness? Will you tap more deeply into your innate talents and utilize them, or ignore them? Will you work on strengthening your weaknesses, or deny them? There is no age limit for learning or self-development.
How does a person obtain the type of chart that he or she possesses? Theoretically, your individual chart is earned from lifetimes of experiences, behaviors and thoughts. You come into this life with a long history that is reflected in the birth chart. All karma, positive and negative enslaves us and it is formed over lifetimes. We carry this karma until it is released in some manifestation. Karma is like a cloud of dust that surrounds our minds and consciousness. Release it and you can see much more clearly and widely.
Karma is [can be] burden or weight. As long as we are attached to outcomes, desires and even what is commonly believed to be “positive hopes and dreams,” we are slaves and deepen karmic bondage. You may have a wonderful life, but there will always be something you are attached to and expect, and that attachment creates disappointment at some point. Remain attached, then you remain bound and chained. Attachment in any form, is still “attachment,” whether it be to the intellect, material items, money, people, pleasures, happiness, health, spiritual or religious beliefs, political ideas, patriotism— it’s all the same thing. None of these things are “bad” or “good” necessarily, but the attachment to them and the expectations surrounding these constructs are what trap us.
The planets did not create this attitude within you. Your chart itself is not responsible for this. Rather, your chart is a map or mirror showing many complex aspects of your personality manifesting in this lifetime. The more each of us takes personal responsibility for the events & experiences that manifest, for learning, improving, detaching and awakening, the better and freer we will become. Use the astrology to gain insight and awareness and to assist you in figuring out the direction to go, and when to make important decisions, based on your personality profile. Don’t experience yourself as a victim. You created it all. No one else is responsible.
The most feared planet in the planetary cabinet is Saturn, because of his association with challenges [karma], fear, hard work and pain. Saturn shows the domain in the chart, by transit and through its natal position, where we have to take responsibility and meet commitments. Saturn has a way of making this very clear. What makes Saturn a great planet is his ability to awaken us and show us the harsh truth or reality that we have ignored. Through this awareness we feel forced to learn the truth and work at some level to improve our lives. Saturn should be welcomed into our awareness and embraced rather than feared. Saturn’s presence (reflection) has a way of not letting us off the hook. You have to face the problem head on, without taking shortcuts. But, if you do, then your life becomes enriched, strengthened, and you become more evolved from the process.
With these thoughts in mind, let’s approach the New Year 2015 with an attitude of taking responsibility on a daily basis for our perceptions, attitudes, decisions and behaviors. The thoughts you maintain, the company you keep and the decisions you make come from your exact level of development at this time. May we all awaken a bit more this year, become wiser, gain valuable knowledge and become detached from the ignorance that persists globally.
A useful way to frame this is that consciousness is primary. The world of expression arises in consciousness. Not so much your personal consciousness but in the global container of awareness.
Thus the world is an inside-out process. Our life and everything in it is an expression of the unique qualities or flavours that we bring out in our expression of that, much as he speaks of above.
Time moves through vast cycles and I believe we choose our birth time to maximize the qualities we wish to express in this life. Because everything is an expression of that choice, the entire environment will reflect it – the form of the body, the shape of the face, the lines on the hand, the patterns of traffic, the leaves on the ground, and the planets in the sky.
A birth chart is not destiny, it is a context for the trends of time and a reflection of possibility for us in this lifetime.
It’s also worth noting that jyotish reflects the actual sky and starry backdrop to the planets. Western astrology does not. They use a fixed zodiac that’s some 23 degrees off of the actual sky. That’s about 3/4 of a sign. Your sun at birth is probably not in the sign (starry backdrop) you thought.