I’m a tough sell when it comes to spirituality organized by someone else. I used to put astrology in the same box as religion; the only way I made it through the Jewish part of my upbringing by tucking a novel into my prayer book and forcing my mom to grab my elbow very time the rabbi said “please rise.” I was baffled by my parents insistence on going to synagogue because, as far as I knew, neither was sure they believed in God. What? I thought. Are they hedging their bets?
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized there are many kinds of belief. There’s the belief of your mind, a form of believing which wants to be rational and absolute. Then there are also beliefs of the heart, soul, or body, none of which are tied to the mind’s rationality.
To a snarky teenager these dichotomies seemed false and hypocritical but (thank goodness!) the world is more complex and layered than my younger self knew.
We live between dichotomies: yin and yang, light and dark, inhale and exhale.
Thus I believe in astrology and I don’t believe in astrology.
Despite my agnostic stance, I’ve been indulging an astrology addiction for the past twenty-four years.
At first it was a small obsession: a weekly dose of Rob Brezsny‘s Free Will Astrology downed like a shot to get me through long hours building models and drawing elevations during architecture school. Years later, I’d feed my astrology fix in the subway, thumbing through The Village Voice as I waited for the F train.
What’s the attraction?
Astrology is a great big cosmic metaphor, one of many doors into the collective unconscious.
If you’re not a person who remembers your dreams or wants to analyze your Freudian slips, astrology might just be a fun door to stroll through. Plus the movings of the cosmos have been used in conjunction with plant medicine for thousands of years.
Because the moon pulls the tides and the water table, which directly affects plant growth. This simple fact links earth and everything which grows upon her with the stars and the night sky. As above so below.
Each new moon, I hop on a webinar with the women in my online community, which gives me a chance to pause and reflect on what’s going on for me and how it syncs up with what’s going on in the larger world. The serendipity of these group gatherings is astounding; even while our minds refuse to fully believe in the astrology thing, we all can feel ourselves in-sync and responding to a collective energy.When I think of myself as living between earth and sky, the context for my life broadens. Click To Tweet
Instead of looking at happenings through the lens of work or family or community, I look at my place under the stars. I ask how my life is a reflection of the shifting seasons.
Here in the South, the wheel is turning and we’re slipping toward spring. My peonies are pushing up, feathery leaves still the deep aubergine of new growth. My mind is full of new thoughts and plans: seeds of things to come.
(I have a deep love affair with the seed metaphor: the seed is everything a seedling needs to take root, but in order for the new plant to thrive every bit of the seed must be used up. The seed becomes a dry husk which falls away, a shell of an earlier incarnation…)
So what, you ask, does this have to do with astrology?
The New Moon is passing through the sign of Aries, the first sign in the zodiac associated with the element fire and, being first, with new beginnings. New beginnings look different for each of us.
Some seeds need to freeze to germinate, but others, like sequoias and manzanita, need to burn.
So as we begin a new astrological cycle, think about your personal patterns: are you a seed that craves the cold stillness of winter or do you need a good burn?
Do you rise like Venus on the half-shell or like the Phoenix bursting from the ash?
Astrology is one of many tools for seeing and feeling into the patterns of the world.
Humans are hardwired to explore and understand patterns. If astrology isn’t your thing, choose another way to dive into the mysteries of the cycles:
- Close observation: try drawing the new leaves as they emerge from the soil or watch the way a candle flame curls and dances.
- Oracle cards: I love these for mining your own subconscious.
- Explore sacred geometry and fibonacci sequences.
- Dive into DNA and the mysterious patterns of our blood.
- And for finding your personal patterns, nothing beats keeping a journal!
When you begin to unravel the patterns around you and dive deep into your own cycles, it becomes a heck of a lot less scary to be a seedling bursting from its shell.
Wishing you the energy to emerge from the cocoon of winter and start anew.