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Hello all Aeclectic Astologers. You know, the first intuitive I ever went to was an Astologer, back in the early 80's. Then I switched to psychics. I've never been drawn to Astrology and only dimly understood it. But then two things happened recently and now I find myself immersed in the study of Astology. First thing, I read, then reviewed Lon Duquette's book on the Thoth, and that being my number one goto deck, it took that book to prompt me to delve deeper into all those little squiggles on the top and bottom of the pips. Second thing...I was on a plane reading Mary Greer's excellent book, Women of the Golden Dawn, and in it, she starts just going on and on about Pluto transiting this and Neptune aspecting that and including charts and stuff and it was starting to bug me that I had no idea what she was talking about. And that's when it started. First up was Secrets From A Stargazer's Notebook by Debbi Kempton-Smith, then Keywords by our good Thoth friends, Banzhaf and Theler. Then some natal chart software for both my computer and Palm Pilot. Then a book called Intuitive Astrology (it's upstairs, don't remember the author), then a book called How To Read Your Astrological Chart (Aspectes of the Cosmic Puzzle) by Donna Cunningham. Now you know the debate that rages in the Tarot forums about books/no books. Well, I'm always on the 'book' side. I study Tarot and use my intuition. But with Astrology, there can't be a debate about books because you have to study like hell to make any sense of it.
So, now I feel like I'm drowning with information. I look at one of my nephew's charts and feel like calling his mother to get him into therapy because he has Uranus, Neptune, Saturn, Mercury and the Sun all conjunct with all of them but the Sun in Capricorn and with a Sagittarius ascendent.....hellllllp!! I look at my own chart and see that I'm a Gemini Rising but Venus is sitting almost right on top of the Acendent conjunct with Uranus so do I appear to others as someone with Venus qualities or with Gemini qualities and Venus is barely in Cancer and it feels more right to me if it stays in Gemini. Then there's my Sun and Mars in Taurus in the twelfth house. And Neptune aspecting all over the place, which of course rules the 12th house. And here I thought I had a handle on who I am and what makes me tick. Why oh why did I start down this slippery slope?!!
How does one manage all of this information? It's like trying to read a layer cake. There is so much nuance that it's driving me batty. On the brighter side, when I do my daily 3 card spread and see a card with the Moon in Cancer I now go, ah, the Moon rules Cancer, the Moon is well dignified, the Moon likes it here, this is good. Actually, my Moon is Cancer. Well, I'm not sure what this note was all about, but, I'm here and I find it all very fascinating. After about 30 Tarot books, I was due for a new topic.
I had to smile at your comment of information overload - that's just the problem if you let Astrology run riot. There are several approaches that you can take. The first is to look for 'pictures' or 'patterns' in the chart, especially looking at aspect patterns. This works very well for some people, they can pull out the essential relationships.
A second approach is to cut down the information that you are prepared to process. For example, I tend to use the element balance of the planet placements, the quality balance (Cardinal, Fixed, Mutable), concentrate on the planets from Sun to Saturn and use the major aspects. This tends to give me a manageable quantum of information. I can then process this and later on consider the trans-saturns and some minor aspects (though even then I keep it as short a list as possible).
There are other ways of cutting down on the information but that tends to work for me. If you try and incorporate everything you simply will not cope because as you read more you will find that some Astrologers also use fixed stars, asteroids, centaur type objects, hypothetical trans-Pluto planets, Black Moons and goodness knows what else. These can work well for the people that use them but I find I get confused if I try them. So to begin with go with what seems 'natural' to you and gradually develop your own technique.
As you say there is little substitute for reading but again each author and each Astrologer (like each Tarot reader) sees things slightly differently and adds their own nuances and insights.
Lastly, I tend to treat Donna Cunningham as 'slightly disturbed' She is a psychologist/psychiatrist dealing with people with significant problems - she may have significant success with them but I think it can be dangerous to extrapolate ideas and theories developed from dealing with the abnormal and using them to interpret the normal. I tend to hold the psychological view of Astrology at something like arm's length. It can be very useful in small doses and give excellent insights but if you are continually looking for people's innermost complexes and psychoses in the positions of Neptune and especially Pluto you can begin to lose contact with reality :)
Hey lawguy! Not to worry, almost everyone gets this feeling of info overload when they first start learning astrology - it's quite the juggling act!
Minderwiz has got some very good suggestions for simplifying and indeed, this is probably the tricky part - deciding what info you're going to plug in and what you're going to leave on the periphery.
I personally find that when you are learning the basics you need to always bear in mind that these elements need to be *synthesized* together into a whole. The more charts you look at, the more you will find they carry a weight with them that is almost palpable. When you read, you allow yourself to feel where the energy in the chart is gravitating and that will be the key to your interpretation. So look at lots and lots and lots of charts :) Astrology is not empirical - no matter how many empirical tricks and short cuts you can learn from books, your *feel* for a chart will prove to be a far superior reading method. The best teacher of astrology is experience.
Oh, and about the branch of psychological astrology. Being a student of psya, I do find it problematic sometimes. Sometimes astrologers of this vein pin the symbolism and energies of the planets on interpretations that are far too literal - often they essentialize and conflate issues like crazy. Too great a focus on the literal physical mother for example, instead of the mother archetype. But Cunningham does have a lot of experience - her book on moon signs can be a little hokey, but I liked it.
edited to add: I forgot to mention! We had an astrology study group where we not only go through all the signs, planets and houses, but explore how the energies apply in our charts. You may find it a useful resource: http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?threadid=12481
When one looks at an astrological chart one is looking at symbols that represent a cosmic view AT A SPECIFIC POINT IN TIME. This snap shot of the sky around us has always changed prior to our point in time (when we were born) and will continue to change.
While the birth chart is a point in time you have to realize that the planets/symbols in that chart arrived at those positions faster and slower than other elements did. The Moon arrived at its place in the snap shot quite quickly, the Ascending degree even more quickly. These are somewhat "unique" to you and a few others.
The outer planets got to their birth point, for you, over a long period of time and their positions can be "generational" in terms of their sign position. Any uniqueness-for-you that these outer bodies have is dependant upon only two factors; their house position in your chart and the aspect patterns to the faster moving and more "personal" planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars) and points (ASC and MC).
So, simplification is the answer. However, the process of getting there is not simple. You have it right -- read, read, read and study charts, study charts, study charts. Put less weight on the outer planets unless they are very closely tied into other chart factors with tight orbs. On the other hand, the personal (inner) planets only make aspects that last a short time (as a general statement). This doesn't mean you should just ignore them. Just keep a "time perspective" in mind. Slow moving planets only influence (at best) you and need additional inner-body support to help express themselves. Faster moving planets do influence you but only for shorter periods of time.
All of us have lived without being aware of astrology. I, like many others, have done some amazing-to-me work with charts -- yet, I do not run charts for my days. I live life. Keep a perspective on things. Some decades ago, Noel Tyl brought a collection of short stories to market -- it may have been called the Case of the Missing Moon. One story was about an astrologer who worked with a client's chart and "saw" that the client was going to lose his left hand on a certain day. As it turned out, the client only lost his left glove. There is nothing cast-in-stone with astrology in most cases. But, it is fascinating and it is rewarding, and it can show you amazing things. Dave.
going to subscribe to this thread...have been following one on the chart for AT...very interesting....but I don't get most of it....
quick question? What you those of you who are into astrology in-depth think of some of the computer programs that plot charts...I did my natal chart...dont' understand any of the Ecliptic Longitutde and Equatorial Declimations, Planetary Aspects or House Cusps for the Placidus System:...hope to learn more once I get further along in Tarot...but the summary paragraphs seem to really fit me personally.
thanks for starting this thread, lawguy...
This has all been great advice, thank you all. I think that even I can answer tmgrl2's question. The computer programs are great time savers and are quite accurate. I use one called Astrolog. I'm sure others will agree....won't you? ;)
Yes, computer software is very helpful and accurate. I use programs from Halloran, have used programs from Matrix (my first from them was back in 1978 or 79 when they were just starting out) and a few others from time to time. Its all a question of what you want to spend, how much you think you need (and you never actually need that much). There are free programs that offer some interesting capabilities -- these are probably best until you have learnt the basics of astrology and have an idea of what you want to pursue.
Once you have natal chart stuff down (planets, signs, houses, aspects) and a sense of how charts represent the sky above us and are actually constructed then you can consider software that does more for you. "More" means transits, progressions, mid-points, arabian parts, solar and lunar returns, fixed stars, mundane and a zillion other special applications. Then, there are "report writers" and web-site hosting applications where you can sell astrology reports.
Its all as bad as Tarot if not more so. Poor us. Dave.
declination sounds more like triginometry right now. The number of variables increases infinetly when you incorporate astroids and planetoids. www.astro.com assists with very comprehensive info rmation.
Like Dave I use programs from Halloran. They also have a shareware version called Astrology for Windows. You can download it free from their site
This is the main engine for some of their more sophisticated and expensive software, although shorn of some of the more 'professional' features. It's a good starter program and you can register it for a small fee (and it is quite small). If you ever want to upgrade then this fee is deducted from your additional cost.
I think it is best to start with a program that calculates and prints the chart for you but leaves you to work out what it means. There's absolutely no substititute for this at the beginners, or indeed any other stage. That means read widely and try out the approaches.
There are some good writers out there, people like Stephen Arroyo, Liz Greene, Tracy Marks, Kevin Burk, Alan Oken all produce introductory texts and beyond. An excellent book if you can get it is The Practical Astrologer by Nick Campion - the best starter book I've come across by an A1 Astrologer.
thought I'd point out these two places on the net that will show a daily chart.
it's great study to keep an eye on the movements of the planets and signs, and try to relate them to one's own natal chart, or the happenings in the news.