A new model of psychological Astrology
Traditional astrology is an interpretive art. A client comes to the astrologer in search of an ‘expert’ who will answer all their questions, and often expects them to tell them what to do with their life, who they should marry and whether to change jobs. For the astrologer, it is extremely easy to fall into this trap. Who wouldn’t want to be ‘the omniscient expert’? And besides, isn’t astrology all about predictions? Isn’t it all about reading the signs of the times?
Of course, it is. Sun-sign columns are full of well-meaning advice. However, the humanistic perspective holds that everybody is their own best astrologer. It holds that it is not so much about the astrologer predicting the future but about understanding the human potential. This self-knowledge then allows one to gain insight into how best to give your life meaning, rather than expecting the astrologer to hand ready solutions down to the client as a message from God.
In recent years, psychological astrologers have preferentially used the Jungian model of psychology, which as psychological theories go, is the most spiritual model available. It draws on myths and archetypes to understand the inner processes of the soul. In astrology, these archetypes are often simply transferred to the planets. These are understood as the very agents of the qualities and characteristics of the Gods whose names they bear. They are not only signposts, but also all too often become the canvass for the astrologer’s projections.
Projections harbour the danger of stereotyping. Instead of seeing each individual as a unique human being – something that astrology would seem perfectly positioned to do, s/he projects the kit and caboodle of astrological preconceptions.
Astrology provides the blueprint, the framework upon which the individual will build their lives. But it is crucial to constantly remain aware of the fact that there is no ONE WAY to live or experience any one planet or sign. A hundred people with the identical placement may find that they have certain traits and dispositions in common, but that each express them uniquely, giving them their own meaning.
Thus, the archetypes are depositories of stories and characteristics, but our experiences of them are completely individual. The astrologer can draw on the patterns of the horoscope and zoom in on particular energy clusters or focal points, but only the client can illuminate them with their own personal meaning.
In this way, astrology is phenomenological, holistic and experiential.