How can we achieve a balance between self-awareness and awareness of the world around us? There is the ordinary everyday life and there is life in the spiritual world, or spiritual truth, spiritual reality. This can also be considered in another way, as balance between self- awareness and that of another, or awareness between self and a group, or society as a whole. It seems this is a fundamental question we must resolve in the course of life. The battleground of the heart is fought on the pages of our calendars, where we give our time and attention. If we give too much attention to the mundane parts of life, then it can tend to lose its joy and meaning. If we devote our attention entirely to spiritual questions we may lose a grip on our closest and most endearing values, our relationships, or we may not manage our resources effectively or for the most benefit and enjoyment.
Isn’t it possible that the natural world is just as holy and just as sacred as the spiritual world?
One only has to plant a garden to consider this possibility. The gardener marvels at his harvest. He knows that he did not provide the rain, the sun, or the forces that make a seed sprout, nor the forces that make it bloom, grow, and reproduce. All of those forces are inherent in creation itself. But a gardener does take part in this great dance. He does his part, observing his garden, observing the seasons. He does his part to plant the seed, he tends it with his love and hard work and he reaps the reward of his dedication and hard work. This begins with observation and willingness to take part in the dance of creation and help it along.
It is a sublime lesson. The ordinary, simple and everything things in life are in fact quite spiritual. This then leads to an acceptance of ourselves and others. Nothing is below us. Scrubbing the toilet is a necessary part of everyday life. Changing a diaper, doing the dishes; these are all necessary. We are all here to experience life from a certain angle or perspective which was provided at birth, and can be discovered in the birth chart, our astrological blueprint.
We are doing a fabulously, wildly diverse job of experiencing life from billions of perspectives. An estimated 8 billion people all with unique perspectives, all inhabiting the planet at the same moment. Earth is teeming with human life, just bursting at the seams with it. Humanity has probably never lived in a more frenetic time-space experience than now. Our current times are a wildly robust. Appreciating that robustness of life with gratitude creates excitement for living. Understanding our unique perspectives and blueprints create more acceptance of self among diverse people from different times and places, something so greatly needed in our times.
It can be challenging to embrace the opposite viewpoint on an issue, but there are opportunities in the process.
Not long ago I attended a Houston Museum of Fine Arts exhibit of Georgia O’Keeffe‘s photography. I recall learning how meticulously O’Keefe would explore the different perspectives of one scene in her photographs to see how each change in her approach communicated the subject. I was reminded of this because for the past two years I had stepped back from the anthroposophical perspective to go more deeply into classical western astrology. I felt this was a necessary step to become more fluent in Astrology and to feel a more confident base of knowledge.
But this week I attempted to stretch myself in changing perspectives by attending a week-long study in Boulder of sidereal astrology led by Brian Gray, Robert Sciappecase, and David Tressemer. After several years of working with western I began to miss the heart-connection and spirit-based meaning and interpretation that came from anthroposophically-aligned approaches. This has been a return to my Waldorf roots but now applied to astrology.
Their approach translates the four fold, anthroposophical view of the human being into astrological terms on a birth chart. It has been fascinating, like turning from an east facing window to a west facing window and embracing the same landscape but through a different lens.
I have some new ideas to play with. Probably the most significant has been to more deeply investigate the NADIR of the chart. Understanding this often ignored angle of the chart, the earth point, puts us in better relationship to the ground of our being. Planets and signs located at the fourth house support our sense of security, our base from which we can venture on out into the world and accomplish our mission.
As an aside, I am pleasantly surprised by the quality of the materials and the attention to detail and thoroughness of the course as it is designed. A few participants have struggled with the more basic vocabulary which had I not already studied a fair amount through Western Astrology would likely have also caused me struggle. In that regard I feel I have been able to help a few classmates by sharing my understanding and I have been grateful for the solid foundation my studies in Western Astrology provided me.
But perhaps the most wonderful part has been the human touches: ample opportunity for movement, opportunity for breaks, ample opportunity for artistic rendition, and discussion which aid in the digestion of the material. The attention to these things facilitates the learning immensely and create a caring and supportive environment.
It’s been four long months on various levels, with many personal life changes, a move to a new house, changing schools. With the onset of the new school year, I’ve also changed teaching positions within my school, only six months after beginning my employment there. My summer was also busy with moving. All the packing and unpacking, and the countless decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of, which objects fit in my new home and what doesn’t. This was followed by lots of teacher training in a new curriculum I am unfamiliar with. It’s been like being a rookie teacher again, starting over on many levels. Starting over though, is my specialty, so I might be too much in my comfort zone.
As the dust settles a bit now, I’ve had a chance to go back to studying the stars with new perspectives and I’m impressed with how exploring my interest in astrology restores me to myself. Through just reading and asking questions, I regain my balance and certainty about many things, but most especially my personal philosophy gets re-grounded, my sense of wonder re-expands, and my faith in the unseen world is often re-stored. Right or wrong, it’s enough for me. I don’t ask or need anyone’s approval or permission, thankfully.
My most recent interests have led me to a fascinating book by Ted Andrews entitled, Sacred Sounds: Magic and Healing Through Words & Music. Andrews was a teacher and an author. He wrote many esoteric books, but his most famous book was about the relationship of humans and animals, Animals Speak. He died in 2009. In this book about music, and ancient bardic traditions, poetry and the power of words, much of what I learned through studying the lectures of Steiner and my Waldorf Teacher training was validated and reaffirmed, though re-framed in more modern language and with new possibilities and potentials expounded.
The most useful and interesting idea which Andrews relates in his book is the assignment of tones to each sign of the zodiac, an idea brought forward by Keppler, though it goes back to very ancient roots. This idea was also promoted by Max Heindel, and Rudolf Steiner, based upon the tonal fifths. This is still very strong in the Anthroposophical teachings of today.
Andrews states, “it is possible to transpose the astrological chart of an individual into a musical composition.” When we do that, we can hear what is harmonious and what isn’t.” Aspects become chords. When a discordant combination of tones is present, we can play various musical tones that blend well with that aspect, bringing harmony to disharmony. Here is a practical application of astrological knowledge, if it truly works and can be studied. In considering this, two of my favorite worlds come together: Music and Astrology. It’s hard for me not to get excited, my astrology-geekness exposed.
While these questions percolate, I continue to look at my students and try to find practical ways to meet them as individuals and as a group through relating to them, guiding them, and designing and pacing the work we do together. I continue to explore how astrology can serve on a practical level to meet these human needs and questions in education, or if it’s little more than grabbing at straws.
My major area of interest is simple to explain. A class of students born in the same year would all have very similar Jupiter and Saturn placements, so it would seem some generalizations can be made about a cohort of students. I’ve also been very interested to study the Moon and Mercury placements of individual students, as much work was done on the study of how people process information, or “mental chemistry” by Marc Edmund Jones, a famous astrologer which would seem applicable to teachers. So, for me, all these ties together: Music, Astrology, Education. More is there of course, like the moon phase at the time of birth which also brings out some helpful group qualities and individual characterizations and I am sure there is much more than these few things which astrology could bring to education, but these are the big elephants in room in my mind. I’ve found one published teacher/astrologer online, though I have yet to read her publications.
I’ve thought about writing about these things and publishing them as e-books, or posting them to the popular TpT, Teacher Pay Teacher website for sale, though these are mere curiosities at this point. I am still at the place of exploring this vast terrain, experimenting, and rudimentary application in my own classroom laboratory. In my view, if something isn’t immediately applicable to a classroom or an immediate need, teachers are just not that patient or interested. They have a total of nine seconds to have their lesson planned and prepped for the next day. They are very pressed for time. On top of that, teachers are famous bandwagon jumpers. So, in the end, I usually leave behind my temptation to turn this interest into a business and I go back to astrology and music as just a serious interest of mine, with potential to serve or help others. There is also stubborn prejudice against anything which smacks of occultism, especially in Texas. I have a long way to go to offer anything that feels safe on a professional level, or useful to other teachers, or seriously tangible. I don’t want to be part of some teaching fad and I truly loathe self-promotion, so I get quickly turned off thinking about things in terms of “business plans,” it all starts to feel cheap and gimmicky. What really interests me is furthering common good and increasing knowledge, improving practices, helping students with cosmic knowledge that is applicable in the real world. This is the type of goal often can’t serve two masters.
I just ran across a great quote this morning, ” [Astrology] at best, merely provides a focus that allows therapy by conversation to proceed.” This is truly my aim, and perhaps the only real claim astrology can make. A good astrologer is actually just a really good listener and conversationalist who uses a language of symbols as jumping off points toward the conversation. The only truth that exists is what gets exchanged between the astrologer and the client and is mutually agreed on to represent truth.
Symbols are just that and only that = symbols. Symbols are not “truth” in and of themselves. But, symbols can be quite powerful in life.
Perhaps, if all I deliver in a reading is a good conversation, if I have prompted a client to reflect on their life in new ways, then I have done my job. I would be deeply satisfied with that.
I don’t pretend to have any psychic ability, nor do I believe that a chart has any special power in itself. If my clients leave their time with me with new ideas or new perspective to chew on about their life, then astrology has succeeded in creating transformation, simply through art of conversation and the client has the decision-making power to believe what they choose to believe. That transformation is enough and it could be a lot, depending on what the person decides to do with it. The meaning of our life is merely the story we tell ourselves and the unfolding action in the drama. We can change that story at any point in the game through what we believe. That is the potential of the art or craft of astrology in which I am interested – the power of the story we are telling ourselves and creating new ones that lead us to our highest goals in life.
Thought, I love thought. But not the juggling and twisting of already existent ideas. I despise that self-important game. Thought is the welling up of unknown life into consciousness, Thought is the testing of statements on the touchstone of consciousness, Thought is the gazing onto the face of life, and reading what can be read, Thought is pondering over experience, and coming to conclusion. Thought is not a trick, or an exercise, or a set of dodges, Thought is a man in his wholeness, wholly attending. – D.H. Lawrence
I like this quote by D.H. Lawrence which speaks about thought, and what thought is. I see astrology as the art of studying the symbols of the cosmic language of the universe and reading over what can be read there, creating the story of the symbols, testing it for validity in our life experience, over and over, and seeking the truth of our existence, which is evolving with our consciousness.
Astrology is a useful tool, it can be spiritual, but it doesn’t have to be so mysterious or woo-woo, it can be quite practical and useful. I do believe in the saying that “you are your own best astrologer.” I think the way forward for humanity is for more people to become aware of the basic language of astrology and for more people to accept and use it to navigate their lives in a practical way first. Then if the spirit moves, it moves and helps unfold things. Many people seem to have a judgement of astrology as “woo-woo,” but after studying this for quite a while now, I am convinced that the cosmic forces do have an effect on humanity. If you need convincing, I encourage you to read Richard Tarnas, Cosmos and Psyche which ties historic events to the movements of the planets in broad cycles in a scientific way. There are also many fine studies of individual biography using astrology which show the planetary correlations in a person’s life.
Astrology need not be in conflict with any set of religious views. But perhaps because there is still so much we don’t understand, there is fear. Perhaps this is left over from the days of dogmatic church dominance in world politics. Whatever the case, using astrology to understand yourself and the world we live in is no less weird than going to a therapist or a counselor to improve your life while still being a Jew or a Christian or a Hindu or a Muslim. These things need not be in conflict. Studying your astrological chart might even deepen already existing religious beliefs, it certainly has for me.
Eagle Eye is about bringing the astrological and cosmic perspective of the world to more people who are hungry for understanding, people who need it and want it to confirm what they already intuitively feel, know, and understand.