The birth chart: what can it tell you?
A birth chart is a map of the sky as seen from the Earth at the time and place of birth. The planetary placements are interpreted as archetypes, universal principles associated with a range of thematic meanings, experiences and psychological tendencies that are expressed in perceptions, emotions, images, attitudes, beliefs, memories as well as in synchronistic external events. So the birth chart is the DNA of a life: it can be read as a blueprint that portrays patterns at work that weave a life through the zeitgeist and the rest of nature.
Cycles of time
The planetary cycles unfold time. The first calendars where based on the zodiac. The transits in our natal chart activate who we are in the process of becoming. As we are growing up, the Mars cycle, associated in Greek mythology with the war god of the same name, informs the development of our will, self-assertion and independence. And when this planet completes it’s first two year cycle, returning to its original place in our birth chart, we are in fighting mode. Astrologers have always thought that time and space are not abstract as our philosophy wants us to believe, but are filled with energies. The astronomical conditions under which we were born set up our biological clock, our contract with time and space, anchoring us in a universal longitude and a latitude.
Astrology interprets the planetary archetypes in great detail according to the element, house, combinations in the chart and sign. The archetypes are multivalent, multi-layered, dynamic energies, creative and participatory by nature. This 21st century approach to astrology states that the person will mediate them to manifest them in concrete ways. This perspective comes from deep psychology. Philosophers have defined the nature of the archetypes or universal principles. This theme was already old when Plato compiled the theory in ancient Greece.
If the person has a strong Uranus in the chart, as Prometheus does, they’ll want to steal fire from the gods to enlighten humanity in the arena of life represented by the placement in the chart in the mode represented by the sign. The chart doesn’t show if the person is going to be an IT engineer, a brilliant scientist or someone who infuses a spirit of invention in the way they live their life. Astrology is not concretely predictive, it’s archetypally predictive: it states that the person will express that basic energy if they are going to fulfil their potential.
In Greek theatre, each character had a mask associated to a universal truth. And he would come into dialogue with others. Astrology reads the planetary archetypes as actors in a play, all representing different desires and needs. Are there repeating themes? Who is friends with whom? Where’s the main conflict? Can they be brought into balance? Interpreting the birth chart as a map of archetypal themes of the life story gives a universal perspective to see where you are and the relative truth of your life.
When we read charts for humans, depth psychology is the model that is combined with astrology to interpret the development of the personality. The planets are interpreted as psycho-dynamic energies or motivations that in tension with the others generate life. They represent what’s driving the person, what is their deepest story. These stories have happened before so knowing about them gives you insight. Like Jungian psychology, astrology uses classic mythology and symbols to convey these meanings, and also classic literature. This is where art and craft come in.
An invention based on dialogue
The principles represented in the birth chart feed on experiences and vice-versa and it’s all very creative. If there’s a Pluto transit and the quality of time is deep change, everyone decides how to give shape to changes in their own lives according the placement in their charts and combinations with the other planets, and these personal changes then build on the change on a social, national and collective level. The change doesn’t happen to us, everyone contributes to the change.
Fate and Free Will
Fate is a long chain of choices that go back to our family, ancestors and our cultural origins. The moment of birth is our fate because we didn’t choose it. What do we do with what we’ve got? Astrology doesn’t tell you anything that you don’t intuitively know, but may bring into awareness aspects that have not been integrated yet, or by showing the potential of an archetype, work more constructively with it. Insight always gives you freedom.
Astrology is a lingua franca that stitches together multiple paradigms of thinking that fall beyond cultures and bind, underpin and flow through them. Used in Egypt, Greece and Rome, this ancient system based on the precision of mathematical astronomy reads patterns that have to do with the warp and woof of the universe, is as rich as it is necessary to be for a craft that deals with man’s place in the world and the path to fulfil his potential.
The histories of science, philosophy, religion and metaphysics were trying to define the nature of the archetypes in relation to matter, the subject, consciousness. No one has yet explained how the patterns portrayed in the chart inform all this. Archetypal cosmology is a new frontier of knowledge, that combines the gulf between fundamental physics (cosmology, astronomy, astrophysics, genetics, biology) and social sciences (psychology, semiotics, philosophy, history, cultural studies and art) to examine the theoretical basis for these correlations and the implications for contemporary culture and the wider world view.