©May 2010 by Fabienne Lopez
Recently, I was thinking about the connection between astrology and meditation, so I was frantically looking for Greg Bogart’s book, Astrology and Meditation. (Bogart would probably chuckle at my franticness.) I couldn’t find it although I swear I have it somewhere in my library. (That’s the problem with being an astrologer, you believe you never have enough astrology books, so you keep buying them even before you finish reading the ones you bought previously. The other day I almost bought a book that I already had. Discovering the book on my bookshelf was a nice surprise.)
There is an intimate relationship between astrology and meditation. As a beginner astrologer, you read and read and read some more. You gather all the knowledge you can cram into your mind and you still fear it’s not enough. In a way it’s true. As the popular saying goes, “Practice is better than theory.” In my own experience there is two ways to become a better astrologer:
1) Do a lot of readings;
2) Meditate on the charts: your own, and the ones from family, friends and clients.
A chart is a living organism. It doesn’t stop the moment you are born, but continues to grow as you develop your potential. Each of the planets bears a story, a myth going back to ancient times where people were still in awe of the mysteries of the universe. That story both relates to you individually, and also delves into your own collectively.
In recent years, neuroscience has studied, quantified and analyzed the benefits of a regular meditation practice. Research has found that meditation boosts brain integration. A word I will come back to.
Generally, everyday life is dominated by left-brain activities linked to analytical, rational and logical processing. In other words, as a modern society we humans tend to think too much and not feel enough. This can cause stress, anxiety and generate a feeling of being overwhelmed. Meditation can bring a feeling of calmness, prompted by a much-needed increase in use of the right side of the brain. Meditation helps you re-establish a balance between the two sides of your brain.
Your chart is the roadmap of who you are now – your strengths and weaknesses — and your potential. You can look at the wheel of the birth chart as a mandala. Astrological language is composed by symbols that exist in each one of us, symbols that carry potentials and myriads of meanings. Those symbols are framed by a circle, an ancient symbol of integration and wholeness. “Mandala” comes from a Sanskrit word meaning circle and center. Mandalas are centering devices, and reveal both our center of individuality and our connection to the Source, the Great Center. Mandalas are pervasive images in the art of folks and cultures all over the world, existing in the form of paintings, dances, and buildings. They express the notion of Cosmos, of a reality unified in a whole, the perfect relationship between space and time, form and movement. The universal symbolism of the circle resonates deeply with our inner self, and symbolizes the idea of perfection, completeness, and wholeness.
By meditating on our birth charts, we can find our life path, talents, and possibly learn how to transform challenges into growth potentials. Meditating on the astrological mandala can serve as a catalyst for change, a key to unlock creativity, gain focus and insight on what our life purpose is. All in an intuitive way.
Meditation can also serve as tool on how the planets, as placed in your chart, relate to your personal experience. Let’s say you have a Gemini (Driven to know, curious, sharp, fast, witty, impartial) Sun (represents who we are at the deepest level) in the Eight House (transformation, sexual union, the occult, death (metaphorical), the values/money of your partner/culture), you could then state that “you feel transformed when you learn” and also that you actively seek transformation. You could then meditate on how your Sun in Gemini in the Eighth House shows up in your life, how do you express it, how it manifests itself, gaining valuable insights into who you are.
In spiritual traditions worldwide, mandalas are largely used as healing, meditation, and teaching tools. They have the power to work as a mirror for the spiritual or archetypal content of the psyche. The overall aspects, distributions of planets in the signs and houses, and symmetries present in our birth chart can get us connected to our inner self, or Divine nature; then the invisible comes to the surface and becomes available to the physical view. We therefore become more integrated, less driven by our unconscious. Our inner/outer selves align themselves allowing us to live more fully in the moment as opposed to some point in the past (if only I had done this or that, I would be insert feeling) or in the future (when I achieve this or that, I will be insert feeling)
Due to its character of wholeness, the mandala can take the viewer and the maker to an experience of connection to the Universe, helping to reunite the fragmented pieces of spread out over the chart.
As I said further up, the chart is a living organism. I wish I could say I meditate daily but that would be an overstatement by a long stretch of the imagination. But I do reflect on my own chart and pay a close attention to what it has to say to me. I feel strongly that my own chart wants to “speak” to me and “paint” an entire picture of who I am.
By meditating on the planetary principles in my chart I can translate astrological symbols into a more personal set of symbols and understand what they actually mean to me. This understanding fosters self-acceptance and self-knowledge which in turn help me achieve a more balanced way of being as I can let go of misconceptions of who I should be and focus on developing whom I am.
Meditation is a particularly apt tool for astrologers as we are used to speaking in symbols. For example, when listening to the words of a client speaking in terms of frustration, depression, limitations, hard work, we know we are listening to Saturn talk.
In times of strong transits to my chart — i.e. difficult — I’ve used guided imagery to help me deal with the problem. I particularly remember a Uranus transit was going over my Ascendant back a couple of years ago, from mid 2008 until early 2009. At the time, I felt cut off from who I was. I truly felt, numb, disconnected, in a state of disassociation. I needed to gain perspective on my situation. But I needed to do so with detachment so I could have an honest assessment of who I was. Throughout the transit, which lasted several months, I meditated on the journey of Uranus over my Ascendant and what I wanted to commit myself to in terms of my life. Commitment being a strong operative word with the Uranian principle, as it is the most difficult thing for a person with an emphasis in that planet.
The series of meditation I went through during that time gave me an opportunity to get in touch with who I really was. For the meditations, I used the one suggested by Babs Kirby in her book, Experiential Astrology. Kirby’s meditation revolved around imagining moving yourself upward from where you are step by step. At each step, you tell yourself know what you think of yourself. You repeat the exercise until you are way up into the stars, in the center of the galaxy, and Earth is a really tiny dot in space.
Unencumbered by the strictures and confines of Earth, I was able to witness my past limitations and see them disappear from the perspective from where I was in the center of the galaxy. It was a very liberating moment.
I must confess that presently I do not meditate as often as I used to, since there is no strong transits going over my chart right now. But I still pay close attention to the images that pop up in my mind when I am in a relaxed state of mind. I still consider the time I spent meditating on my chart a deeply gratifying period in my life as I learned so much about myself by listening to my inner voice. Ultimately it led me to better understand and accept myself. It was also a very a good way for me to deepen my understanding of astrology, the meaning of each sign, house and planet. Try it! It will certainly make for some interesting times for you!
For many of my meditations, I used Babs Kirby’s book “Experiental Astrology” and Barbara Schermer’s “Astrology Alive” as a starting point as the guided imageries in these two books provided me with a series of closely related symbolic scenarios conjuring the planetary principle I was interested in. Other times, I would just sit quietly, picture my chart and see what would pop up and what that planet or aspect had to say.
Just as dreams contain many levels of meanings, I have noticed that the images that come through during a meditation operate in different levels but generally relate to our current life circumstances and deep-seated inner issues.
As a joke, I will end up saying that meditating on your chart is a form of therapy on the cheap.
Credit: Photos from Flickr Creative Commons