When I was a child, my Aunt Thelma would wait for the Scranton Times-Tribune to check out Sydney Omar’s daily horoscope column. She would sip her coffee and read the daily prediction for whoever was sitting around the kitchen table. I was always polite, but never really thought he was very accurate. Looking back though, I guess her enthusiasm for things like astrology planted a seed within my curious mind. Scorpio is my rising sign and I believe it is responsible for my desire to look beneath, to plumb the depths. Fast forward many decades and I am devoted to promoting another type of astrology, psychological astrology, as a vehicle for growth and change. I have the feeling that if more people really understood astrology, they could benefit greatly from a consultation. Psychological astrology is not predictive nor is it a psychic art. It is, however, a wonderful tool to support a deeper understanding of the self, especially if incorporated as a tool in psychotherapy.
Here is what Carl Jung had to say about the matter: “Obviously astrology has much to offer psychology, but what the latter can offer its elder sister is less evident. So far as I judge, it would seem to me advantageous for astrology to take the existence of psychology into account, above all the psychology of the personality and of the unconscious.”
So, what can modern psychology learn from astrology? I do believe that the natal chart (given an accurate date and time of birth) can act as a map for our greatest potential. From childhood on through our adult years, we can look at factors influencing our journey, depending on the planets and the way they communicate with each other. Imagine the zodiac wheel is a big conference table. When we are born, the planets are sitting in assigned seats and each seating position designates an integral part of us. As time passes, the planets move around the table, each trying out the comfort or goodness-of-fit of each other’s seats and roles. Their perspectives and behaviors change, depending on their position around the table. We grow older and our inner dynamics evolve with the time and culture.
When I look at a client’s natal chart, I do not automatically assume my deductions are correct, but it sure gives me a good starting point of questions to ask and where to look with the client about healing. The process is similar to Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS) or parts work. We begin to look at presenting issues and what planets or tensions in the chart might be worked with. So, for instance, if I am feeling impulsive, angry, or competitive in relationships and my Mars is in Libra, I might be looking at how to express my Mars in a more constructive way. I can then focus on Mars, dialog with my Mars, write about my Mars, do artwork to express my Mars and ultimately own and understand the process of my issue from a deep place of self-awareness.
Of course, this approach does not work for everyone, but I encourage the reader to be curious and investigate further before discounting the potential of astrology to assist in the healing process. There are some pioneers out there who have written about psychological astrology, and here are a few: Noel Tyl, Richard Tarnas, Glen Perry, and Liz Greene. If you lean more toward a belief in reincarnation as a vital part of the the soul’s journey, Steven Forrest and Jeffrey Wolf Green should be on top of the list.