While astrology is an incredible tool for self-understanding, like all tools, it can be abused. One of the most common ways of abusing ourselves with astrology is to imagine that the natal chart describes all of the possibilities in our lives. So, if you're a Capricorn with no planets in Aquarius, don't expect to have the freedom and inventiveness of Aquarius available to you. This identification with the birth chart, to the exclusion of the rest of the universe, is an unfortunate side effect of natal astrology. The natal chart can be used to open as well as to close, and there are, I believe, times to set it aside. In doing that the purpose is not to walk away from astrology, but to move towards its fullness, that is all of the signs and planets. We are each all of the signs. The birth chart describes a particular set of tendencies for the "owner" of that chart. But, this is not the whole story. For while we are born as individual personalities with individual bodies, we are each part of something much greater. In fact, it can even be argued that this life is the dream, and that upon dying we awaken to a larger sense of reality.
If it is true that we come from and return to something larger than ourselves, it is probably best to take the natal chart with a grain of salt. No matter how accurately it describes your personality and defines the cycles of your life, it is far from the whole story of what astrology has to offer. Astrology offers a key to a secret language, a code to the universe, if you like. It shows us elements and modes, constructing a 12 phased zodiac. It gives us the Sun, Moon and planets to use in our lives. But often, the natal chart gets in the way. I would like to recommend two different exercises to overcome this limitation.
The first is to ditch your natal chart. That's right, just get rid of it, imagine that it doesn't exist. Aries are free to negotiate, Librans to fight, Cancers to not care and Capricorns to feel deeply. In place of your own chart you can follow the transits of the day. When the Moon's in Gemini you have the Moon in Gemini, when it changes to Cancer you change yours to Cancer. In this way you are free to explore astrology, to explore your universe without restriction (or at least the restriction of your natal chart). You could also drop the transits and explore whatever energies and experiences (astrologically based or not) that you like. Your natal chart will always be waiting for you when you get back. But when you return, your vision of your possible self will have grown. Another benefit to giving up your natal chart is that you may let go of a sense of isolation. Identifying with the natal chart can hold you back from encountering other aspects of yourself, of your soul and your spirit. Freed of identification with one moment in time, you can expand and discover aspects of yourself not bound by time or space. The psychological freedom can be disorienting, we like landmarks, but it is also a step towards liberation.
The second exercise is to try eliminating a single planet from your chart. The reason you might do this is to deal with a limiting factor or blockage in relation to the planet's energy. For example, if your Mars is retrograde in Cancer and opposite Saturn you might feel that accessing initiative and anger are difficult for you. Eliminate Mars, imagine that it doesn't exist in your chart. Then search for initiative elsewhere in your chart. Where is initiative in your Moon, your Sun, your Jupiter, even your Venus? Every planet holds a piece of every energy, so even a Marsless person has the capacity to get the ball rolling. But, by leaving Mars out of the equation its perceived limits and challenges are out of the picture. You can discover other layers of each of the planets in this fashion. Take out the Moon and look for nurturance in the other planets. Drop Neptune and seek inspiration and compassion elsewhere. In this fashion you "stretch" your understanding of the planets, and of yourself.
The essential point is to play with astrology, to use it as a field for exploration. In breaking its rules, you can discover other rules, other levels of meaning that can enrich your life, as well as your knowledge of astrology. The universe is vast, and the moment of birth, powerful as it is, is not the only doorway to awareness through astrology.
Copyright: Matrix Software
Bio: Jeff Jawer
Jeff Jawer is available for astrological consultations and can be reached at (888) 287-9143, or by email: Jawer@bigfoot.com. He has been a professional astrologer since 1973 and holds a special B.A. in The History and Science of Astrology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He is professionally certified by the American Federation of Astrologers and by the City of Atlanta's Board of Astrology Examiners, on which he has served.
A founding member of AFAN, Jeff has served two terms on its Steering Committee. He was also one of the founders of UAC and is a member of its Executive Board.
Well-known as a counselor, writer and teacher with dozens of articles in books and journals, Jeff has spoken four times at The World Astrology Congress in Switzerland and is a regular columnist for The Mountain Astrologer. He lived and worked in France for over two years and continues to teach summer seminars there.