Starting with today’s New Moon in Gemini, I plan to begin a daily, short blog relating to the energies of the moment, either astrological or otherwise. The Gemini New Moon seems a perfect time to begin such a project (though I didn’t plan it this way), given that Gemini rules media, information, and the exchange of perspectives. Saturn’s a bit crunchy today, grinding to a halt as it passes into its 5-month retrograde, squaring Gemini’s ruling planet, Mercury. Not a classically great aspect for beginning a media project. . . But I’m not as concerned with “success” here as I am with a deeper set of questions, which this alignment reflects: How do we make the mind an ally and not a hindrance? What does it take to develop true discernment? To what extent does astrology help, and to what extent does it get in the way? How can we discipline our attention so that we always see things in a way that supports life? How can we put a hard stop to all forms of negative thinking without flying into false positivity? How can the simple, daily practice of introspection and observation help?
I stepped away from astrology over the last six months (I am back now), not because I lost interest in it or because I think it’s ineffective, but because, on its own, it is incomplete. The fact is that unless we have strong skills of observation and introspection and are building a connection to higher powers, astrology is, at best, interesting or comforting, and at worst, just more mental baggage. It’s lovely to have explanations to ease our existential anxiety. But if we stop there, we’re dead in the water. The birth chart only reflects to us what we can see at this moment. It shows us who we think we are and validates our past experiences. There is certainly value in this, but for astrology to help us, it needs to support practices that will help us to grow beyond who we think we are — and especially who we have been.
In some ways, everything is about perspective. Some mystical traditions, like Kashmir Shaivism and Hermeticism, say that the universe is born when the unitary Godhead divides itself to know itself and that all the infinite forms of becoming are just new perspectives to enrich the Divine’s experience of itself. I like it! Certainly, that’s a more appealing perspective — again, everything’s perspective — than the one that says this world is an illusion from which we must escape, pronto. It means that no perspective is wholly bad — but all perspectives are incomplete. As we grow in consciousness, our job is to learn to distinguish between perspectives that serve life and those that do not. When we do, we realize just how much choice we have — and that it is a choice of perspective. Where to aim our attention? What kind of story to tell?
Within this view, astrology serves two purposes: 1) opening to “The More”; and 2) as a “soul mirror”. Psychology pioneer William James, in his classic Varieties of Religious Experience, wrote:
“Our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. We may go through life without suspecting their existence; but apply the requisite stimulus, and at a touch they are there in all their completeness.”
James called what lies on the other side of the “filmy screen” of ordinary, brain-based perception “The More.” I love this phrase because it is accurate. We tend to create God in our image, and we are oh so likely to project that image onto experiences of higher consciousness. “The More” says it like it is without making any claims other than the fact that there’s more.
With just a little knowledge of the planetary archetypes, you begin to see a new dimension of reality previously invisible to you. If you have spiritual leanings, it’s easy to accept that. If not, it can take some adjustment. But in either case, practicing seeing things through this lens — crucially, without reducing things to mere concepts — can alter your consciousness. As this archetypal vocabulary becomes second nature, the world reveals itself in undreamt-of ways. You realize that synchronicity and magic are the norm, not the exception. The key is using astrology to listen to the music of existence more deeply — not to explain it away. With the right view, you allow astrology to expand your perspective further as far as you will allow. As Terrence McKenna was fond of quoting, “The universe is not only stranger than you suppose; it’s stranger than you can suppose.” So enjoy!
Second, as a “soul mirror,” astrology becomes an anchor for introspection. To use it well, you need to be vigilant for any traces of fear and sensationalism in your thinking, and you need the bedrock understanding that nothing is fixed. If you know your chart, take some time to reflect on how different you are from past versions of yourself, and how the chart still works. While you will always express your birth chart to some degree, the possibilities of expression are infinite. To a large extent, our consciousness is the key ingredient here. You can use the chart to gauge where your consciousness is right now. Everything will be revealed, so have courage. And also have imagination. Not fantasy, but what the alchemists called “True Imagination” — the kind that taps into higher realities, which the practice of “listening” to the world’s music through astrology can help us cultivate. Most of all, learn to observe every thought, feeling, and impulse of will in each moment. Soon, you will learn to see them coming. Reflect every evening on the day just passed in light of these things; consider it a pre-emptive life review. Consider how the planets were involved, and reflect on the fact that you are receiving communications from another — very real — dimension. Know that something will get lost in translation, so make an effort to learn that language in your heart.
As an astrologer, writer, teacher, and coach Alex helps people to discover just what their consciousness is capable of. Weaving together practices from ancient and modern traditions, both Eastern and Western, Alex helps people let go of their limitations, discover powers they did not know they had, and open up to whole new dimensions of experience and manifestation. Alex lives in Benicia, CA and is currently pursuing a PhD in East-West Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. Visit him at https://www.twentyfirstcenturyalchemy.com/