At times I have loved astrology. It’s been an easy way to get people to talk about themselves, how they see themselves, what matters to them and the kind of person they’d like to be.
At other times I’ve hated astrology. I don’t like it when people use it to explain a behavior, an outlook, or a world event. I don’t like the idea of people boxing themselves into a category.
I can’t help but feel that that this and other kinds of “categorizing” (Meyers Briggs, Enneagrams, Big 5 Personality Traits) are misused when we rigidly define ourselves with them, fitting ourselves to other people’s words, simplifying and diminishing ourselves.
I do feel they are excellent tools to help us understand others. It can also help us internally understand our own personality and strengths, work on our weak areas and help us respond to others by being more flexible. We all have significant habits of behavior, and most of us have slightly different personalities in different environments, and can adapt when we need to.
(Is personality flexibility actually essential for responsiveness? Is personality flexibility the opposite of authenticity? How important is responsiveness? Hmm… I’ll explore this more later.)
The pursuit of Self-Knowledge is considered of utmost importance is Mystery Traditions. In one way or another, these habits of behavior are challenged and changed through a system of character training.
(A mean ex-boyfriend once called this “brainwashing”. But I retorted, “No, it’s character training. You know this, you’re in the military.”)
We may not like the idea of character training, but it’s happened to us all – we were raised according to our parents values, sent to school, etc. We may undertake training in a new system (this goes for the military, University as well as esoteric traditions). As autonomous individuals, the time comes for us to consider what kind of person we would like to be, what values do we find truly and personally the most important, and how we can live them with authenticity.
(What about people who don’t like themselves? What is the line between aspiration and acceptance?)
Ultimately, spiritual “Self-Knowledge” and the pursuit of “The Great Work” is recognizing all of these quirks, habits and influences, freeing ourselves from those that do not serve us, and “perfecting the personality”. All magickal practices are works of Self-Knowledge.
In the past few months I have been looking at a few different esoteric systems, which has brought me to looking more closely at astrology, a technical and ordered system of sacred numbers and geometry which correlates the relationship between celestial bodies and the Earth to people’s relationships with themselves and each other. Astrology has influenced all western religious and spiritual systems, and so I find a lovely language for self-exploration and communicating subtle meanings.
I look forward to exploring astrology as a system of self-knowledge, of accountability and agency and personal character exploration. When I look at my chart, I see a lot of things that match the way I’ve defined myself. I see a lot of things about myself that I don’t like, that I insist aren’t true, and things that I am afraid of… Sounds like a good start.