Astrology is the art of contemplating the ever-changing moments of time. As we gain proficiency in prediction, we also learn to discern what the predicted events might mean. Astrology teaches us a form of active meditation where we contemplate whatever we see coming up astrologically, or happening right now, with an attitude of quiet expectation and receptivity to whatever wants to unfold.
This is different from the astrology of dread and fear, where we passively suffer the effects of the planets. We learn to search for the positive evolutionary intent and purpose of every event, even the most painful ones. Does transiting Saturn conjunct or square Venus mean a terrible period of failure in relationship? Or is it an indicator that this is a time in which our capacity for maturity in relationships will be developed and tested? We have the power to choose and invent the meaning of our own planetary placements and transits. While traditional astrology viewed Saturn as a malefic planet, we recognize that it also the planet that can lead us toward stability, maturity, and responsibility.
The mature practice of astrology is defined not so much by a set of techniques as it is by an attitude or stance. Ultimately the most powerful astrological technique is not progressions or solar returns, harmonics or dasa periods.
The most powerful astrological technique is a quiet mind, a stance of contemplation. No matter which techniques we use, when our minds are agitated our studies of astrology result in fear of the future, of malefic planets, and of challenging aspects or transits. When our minds are clear and quiet, we begin to discern the meaning of even the most tumultuous events in our lives so that we remain centered, calm, and hopeful. Thus, I consider a personal meditation practice one of the keys to a positive, growth-oriented approach to the celestial art.
The key is a meditative attitude. Another key is the ability to look at any symbol in a number of ways, chewing it over and digesting it thoroughly, looking at it from many angles and reflecting on its many possible meanings.
As our understanding of the celestial art grows, we enthusiastically embrace each challenging transit and try to find positive meaning in it. Our task is to use astrology to help ourselves and others to meet change with courage.
The main problem is fear: We are afraid of the transits or progressions that we are passing through instead of embracing each of them as initiatory teachings.
We use the power of astrology when we ask, what is the possible outcome of this transit? What is the highest end this process could serve? A useful astrological meditation practice is to sit quietly with a silent mind and then to contemplate some transit you are experiencing that corresponds to a difficulty you are facing in your life right now, and to ask yourself, “What is the secret intention of this process?” We must always ask ourselves, given the astrological influences of this time, how can I use this experience as a step toward awakening? In our hearts we know what is being asked of us, even where we resist the lessons life is offering us.
Astrology is the path of harvesting meaning from events, consuming life experience as food, even difficult experiences. We stop cursing our lives. We are ready for anything. The great astrologer Grant Lewi foresaw his own death from his horoscope and calmly went about the business of saying goodbye to friends and making financial arrangements for his family. He was detached, realistic, and free of self-pity.
Astrology teaches us to be at peace no matter where we are. We begin to live with full awareness of the meaning and purpose of each event within the cycles of our evolution. We start to know the purpose of our incarnation, the tests we must face, and the tasks we must fulfill. And so paradoxically, while we learn to choose and mold, through our visualization, the meaning of our natal chart symbolism, our transits and progressions, we also begin to be more at peace with the way things unfold. We begin to rest in the state of just being, in the stillness of consciousness beyond thought, beyond struggle. Everything is as it is. We begin to practice astrology with the intention to use every experience and every event, as a means to awaken and more fully realize our faculties and potentials. We learn to accept whatever unfolds with evenmindedness.
In his book Triptych, Dane Rudhyar (1978) wrote:
Man is man through the challenge of the earth, meeting which, he calls upon himself the release of spirit from the heart of divine plenitude. . . . Man experiences through nature. He rises through nature. Not against, but through. . . . The hand passes through the water. It experiences the water, the fluidity of it, yet it emerges from it, still a hand–the integrity of a hand, plus consciousness from the experience. Consciousness is through-ness. It is born of thoroughness of experiencing. (p.104)