If you would ask me to state the one message that I feel is most important that I get across where the use and practice of Astrology is concerned, I would definitely say:
Astrology is much more than we’ve narrowed it down to.
Astrology is more than just zodiac signs.
Astrology is more than just a birth chart or “placements”.
Astrology is about PEOPLE.
Every now and then, when I indulge in a bit of astro-humor, I re-visit a book called: “You’re Not a Person, Just a Birth Chart” by Paul F. Newman. I feel like some of the jokes are a brilliant illustration of the type of thinking we adopt when we start to use the zodiac signs and birth charts as the lowest common denominator to which we can possibly reduce a human being.
Currently, much of what I read (especially on the internet), seems to be threatening to drag us back to that place of reductionist thinking which I thought we had progressed from.
Was I just being silly? Or possibly naive? Have we EVER left that place? Those are a few questions among many which have crossed my mind in regard to this phenomena.
So often, I hear and read about actual human beings being referred to as: “This Sagittarius I know” or “That Scorpio I used to date”, etc.
It now seems as if a large majority of what’s important to know about the actual PERSON is being bypassed in the name of some type of cosmic “shorthand.” We’ve forsaken the desire to delve into people’s life story, circumstances or worldview and we simply refer to them as “Pisces placements”, “Capricorn placements” and the like.
In most cases, I’ve also discovered that this line of thinking eventually offers less depth of insight than the user originally anticipates. Furthermore, when we do this, both the integrity of the person as well as the meaning of the sign are compromised.
Astrologer Glenn Perry states this adeptly:
“Signs have been more or less personified in popular Astrology. The result of this distortion is that we don’t describe Leo behavior, we describe Leo individuals, e.g., “He (Leo) is a showoff and likes to be the center of attention; he is quite extroverted.”
Perry goes on to state:
“It is misleading to depict signs in this manner. By equating signs with people, facets of the psyche are BLOWN UP into WHOLE PERSONS (caps mine) and the metaphorical meaning of the sign is lost.”
It seems as if we’re gaining more bravado playing this dangerous game of minimization by using phrases that we think support our case like “The stars don’t lie.” However, what this appears to be, is an avoidance of taking on the intellectual labor to conceptualize, analyze, deduce and interpret using a holistic framework. This reminds me of a propaganda technique called “labeling” :
” A euphemism is used when the propagandist attempts to increase the perceived quality, credibility or credence of a particular ideal. A dysphemism is used when the intent of the propagandist is to discredit, diminish the perceived quality or hurt the perceived righteousness of the individual. By creating a “label”, “category” or “faction” of a population, it’s much easier to make an example of these larger bodies, because they can uplift or defame the individual without actually incurring legal defamation.”
There’s a gross misconception that when we refer to and label people as “signs” somehow we’re more justified in their criticism, praise or dismissal. It’s now easier , and more “cool” to view people in a fragmented fashion with blatant disregard for their complexity.
The points being made here are not to belittle the way in which anyone wishes to study, practice or understand Astrology.
Rather, it’s food for thought on the importance of elevating the discourse of a potent instrument for self-knowledge and the rich significance that rests in the work that’s required to learn about how the actual living, breathing human being relates to, and lives their existence in tandem with the Astrological chart, which doesn’t DEFINE them, but ACCOMPANIES them, AS A MAP, to navigate this thing we call life.
Again. if I could drive home ANY point, I’d say to know that there’s YOU and then there’s your birth chart. The MAP isn’t the territory.
References: Introduction to AstroPsychology by Glenn Perry,
Propaganda Techniques (Wikipedia),
“Propaganda” by Edward Bernays