The Limitations of General “Cookbook” Astrology

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Whenever I have the opportunity to talk and build with my fellow Astrologers within the community, I’m both excited and honored. Even one or two quality conversations goes a long way when it comes to the igniting of our astrological minds. In the last week to 10 days, I’ve been fortunate enough to engage in a few dialogues regarding “cookbook astrology”.

For those who may not know: in astrology, the term cookbook is used to assign “standard” definitions  and meaning to a planet, sign, house or aspect. I think it’s safe to say that this is how most of us have been introduced to astrology in general, and more intimately, our own birth charts.

When I was in college, the first time I saw my birth chart was in a blue, glossy 25 page computerized report sent to me via fed ex. I couldn’t wait to open it and find out “all about me”. Finally, this was the key that was going to unlock it all!!

One of the most important celestial maxims to which I always return is: “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Viewed as divided, fragmented human beings, we may be able to obtain SOME astrological information that will shed SOME light on our inner dynamics. However,  astrological understanding is most evident in synthesis. In our ability to view ourselves as entire people.

We must remember that cookbook descriptions of our planetary placements, house positions and aspects are starting points or isolated commentaries written by an individual. The synthetic quality of astrology is about the unfolding picture in it’s entirety when all of these energies are combined in one person.

Although the standard definitions provide a basic foundation for learning, a skilled astrologer can help us understand our birth chart and how it relates specifically to US and OUR LIVES. As Astrologer Pippa Ponton so insightfully stated: “Cookbook gets a bad name, but recipes just say egg and sugar, etc… That doesn’t make a cake, it’s the COOK.”

Just as an Astrologer is a “cook” of sorts, we’re also our own cooks, making a valiant effort to combine the ingredients which we have at our disposal, and create a life where the flavors of all the contents can be tasted in a way which satisfies our individual palettes. Owning the ability to be our own master chefs is of paramount importance.

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