Saturday, April 27, 2013

Astrology - Separating Science from Myth

Growing up in India, it was not uncommon to see people make almost every decision of their lives by choosing an auspicious time. You took your horoscope to the astrologer and he chose the optimum time for you to buy a house, a new car or to start a new business. Appropriate rituals and prayers were performed and the venture began on a good note, or so it was believed. To this day, most people match horoscopes with their prospective bride or groom to find out how the marriage will work out. I wouldn't say I was a believer, but I certainly didn't go against the grain. I followed along and never thought much of it. When I moved to the US, I started to question the tradition. I began to actively move away from believing in stars, planets and magic gemstones or rituals.

The kundalini awakening put things in a different perspective. Kundalini was also an event I had written off as superstition and mumbo-jumbo until it happened to me. After my awakening episode, I read over 200 books on the subject of spirituality, metaphysics, alchemy, gnosticism, the various religious texts of all major religions and as I have described before, they all started making sense on a deeper level. Among these books, I happened to read a few on astrology. This time, a lot of it made sense, more than it ever had before. I also could see the connection of the chakric system and the flow of chi and how it was affected by the movement of the heavenly bodies.

All existence is a harmony of congealed vibration. The larger the body, the greater the vibration and consequent resonance. Every planetary body, near or far, affects our energetic system. Our species evolved in this solar system with the celestial orbs and their vibrational hum as well as orbital pattern as an ever present repetitive cycle. Astronomy and astrology both evolved when man, through deductive reasoning, or due to revelations during states of expanded consciousness, divined this truth and started to connect the dots about the impact that these bodies and their movements had on our lives.

The signs and the planets that rule them

To be willfully blind to the effect of the sun or the moon on our daily lives is foolish. All life on this planet is possible only because of the Sun and the light we receive from it. The moon and its phases are directly responsible for the tides in the oceans. For a life-form whose body is 93% water, it is the greatest conceit to claim that there is no impact on his or her life as a result of the motion of the celestial bodies.

The astrology we see in popular culture, newspaper predictions for your sign, astrologers who have made it a business and offer "remedies" that help their financial position more than your circumstances in life, is nothing more than a parlor trick. There are hucksters, a dime a dozen, waiting to fleece you and keep you enslaved in constant worry because the next few months are about to be dire, as predicted by the stars. This level of astrology and the commercial enterprise it has become should be avoided at all costs. Not all astrologers are like that, of course, some are genuine students of the science.

To understand astrology and use it as a form of guidance, one has to learn the very basics and see the motions of the planets as a revealing mechanism that lays out the road-map for the path ahead just as a GPS device tells you that the next few miles are about to lead you to a particular town. How you get there, what you do once you are there and how to make the best of the circumstances you are presented with, is still up to you. What should be discouraged is a fatalistic "this will happen because the stars say so. There is nothing I can do about it" approach and/or the blind and naive faith placed in the astrologer to help you navigate the uncertainties of life.

The human soul and our consciousness are direct manifestations of the absolute, and as such are powerful. We may not be able to control natural events, but using our will, our intelligence and abilities inherent to us, we can definitely plan for those events, even make the best of them and thrive under the worst circumstances. Passive acceptance of foretold events is certainly the wrong approach. If the weather forecast says rain, I take an umbrella with me. I don't worship the meteorologist or say "He's wrong most of the time. Why bother?" How I use the information given to me is totally under my control. Even in the worst phase of misfortune, one can choose the time to rid oneself of old, detrimental habits and recognize opportunities for creating a sound base to build the next phase. Times of tumult and change can reveal inner fortitude and make you stronger.

Before we get into any deeper discussion on the subject, I'd like to present some concepts regarding how the planets affect our lives.

First of all, the persistent myth that you are a certain sign needs to be debunked. For example, a person says "I am a Taurus." One goes on to read the qualities for a Taurus in the daily horoscope and believes oneself to be that. The power of suggestion is a very potent force, especially if it makes you appear in a good light. Let's think for a minute what it means to be a Taurus or Pisces. It means, depending on the system of astrology being used, the sun or moon was in a quadrant of space that has been assigned to the cluster of stars that we call Taurus or Pisces. Since the sun or moon have the greatest effect on a person's life - more than any of the other planets - we use them to define that individual's astrological sign. However, each person on this planet has all the planets in the solar system in their horoscope. There is no choice. Jupiter did not take a vacation to Andromeda when you were born. When someone says, "I have Saturn in my horoscope. It brings me bad luck." I've got a news flash for you. Every single one of us has Saturn in our horoscopes. What they mean to say is that they have Saturn in a position that will affect their lives "adversely." It doesn't mean that some horoscopes are devoid of Saturn's influence.

Similarly, every sign is present in your horoscope. A horoscope is simply a divison of the sky into 12 zones and the assignment of planets to each zone based on their location in the sky at the time of your birth. So you are not just Taurus, you are all 12 signs. Taurus has your sun or moon in it and you are more likely to possess the qualities described by it, but that could change dramatically based on the other planets and their placement in your chart. The chart is important, not just one sign in it. If you read the horoscope for Taurus in the newspaper every day and find it lacking in meaningful advice, it's because you are getting the advice equivalent of Punxatawny Phil, the weather predicting groundhog that looks at its shadow and forecasts the length of winter season on February 2nd. each year.

When you were born, the planets were in a certain position in the sky. These positions are cast into a chart, dividing the earth's position in relation to the signs and your planetary arrangements positioned relative to the signs. After that, it is not a matter of conjecture. Each planet follows a cycle of rotation around it's axis and around the sun. They have been following the same path for millions of years. The predictive aspect of astrology just co-relates how the proximity of a heavenly body to Earth in the course of its movement around the sun and gives you an analysis of how this event affects events in your life.

It is also based on empirical evidence collected over several centuries by people who recorded the events connected to the movement of the planets and the sun and moon. Before the modern era, there was no differentiation between astronomy and astrology. A scientist curious about the stars dabbled in both. What's fascinating is the ancients that developed the science of astrology did so without the benefit of modern telescopes. They knew that the Earth was round, revolved around the sun and were advanced enough to have discovered the exact orbitals of the planets. The ensuing period of darkness and ignorance led to a re-discovering of this fact by Galileo. This had been common knowledge in Mesopotamian, Babylonian, Greek and Indian cultures thousands of years before his re-discovery.

In a previous post, Margaret Dempsey mentioned the coming of the Aquarian age. This is a fascinating phenomenon that has very real astronomical significance and effects not just on your personal astrological chart, but on all humanity and signifies major upheaval at the planetary level. The Earth, in addition to its diurnal (daily) rotation upon its axis and annual rotation around the Sun, incurs a precessional motion involving a slow periodic shift of the axis itself: approximately one degree every 72 years. This motion, which is caused mostly by the Moon's gravity, gives rise to the precession of the equinoxes in which the Sun's position on the ecliptic at the time of the vernal equinox, measured against the background of fixed stars, gradually changes with time.

Chakras and their corresponding planets

In graphical terms, the Earth behaves like a spinning top, and tops tend to wobble as they spin. The spin of the Earth is its daily (diurnal) rotation. The spinning Earth slowly wobbles over a period slightly less than 26,000 years. From our perspective on Earth, the stars are ever so slightly "moving" from West to East at the rate of one degree approximately every 72 years. One degree is about twice the diameter of the Sun or Moon as viewed from Earth. The easiest way to notice this slow movement of the stars is at a fixed time each year. The most common fixed time is the vernal equinox around 21 March each year.

This astronomical event triggers changes in events on the planet. The planetary alignment now changes and the "flavor" of the next era is decided by the sign it now points to. We have always known this and ancient seers and adepts wove these concepts into popular mythology and theological canon. Abraham, represented by the bull, Moses by the ram and Jesus by the sign of the fish points to the astrological symbol for the era that they represented. When Moses was said to have descended from the mountain with the ten commandments (c. 17th - 13th century BC, the end of the Age of Taurus), he found some of his followers worshipping a golden bull calf. He instructed these worshippers to be killed. This represents Moses "killing" the bull, ending the Age of Taurus and ushering in the Age of Aries, which he represents.

Aries represents a Fire symbol as well as bold actions, a lot of these behaviors can be seen during any age. However, the themes emphasized during this age relate to courage, initiative, war & adventure. Nations during this age, such as the expanding empires of China, Persia, Greece and Rome, are often cited as examples of the archetypes of Aries in action.

The Age of Pisces is characterized by the rise of many religions such as Christianity (founded 1st Century), Islam (founded 7th Century) and Buddhism (founded 6th to 4th Century BC), all resulting from the "spiritual" nature of Pisces and its ability to go beyond the boundaries of the physical world. The Age of Pisces is marked by the continuous research of humanity about the truth hidden behind what's perceived by five senses.

From the kundalini perspective, as seen in the diagram above, every chakra corresponds to a planet. Our bodies are a mini-cosmos by themselves and our solar system is reflected within the physical body. The root chakra is controlled by Saturn and corresponds to the signs Aquarius and Capricorn ruled by Saturn. In astrology, Saturn is known to be the ruler of basic needs such as food and shelter, and sure enough that is reflected in the lowest chakra and its significance in our lives. The sacral chakra is controlled by Jupiter, ruler of Pisces and Sagittarius, relevant to creative energy. Mars, representing action and willpower controls the solar plexus chakra. Venus, no surprise, governs the heart chakra. Mercury, the planet of creative expression, the one that gives us the "gift of the gab" rules the throat chakra.

The sun and the moon rule just one sign each. Leo and Cancer, respectively. This reflects as the essential duality, the yin-yang, coming together of polarities represented by the third eye chakra and the coming together of the sun (pingala) and moon (ida) nadis. The coming together of these nadis at the third eye leads to unity with the divine, the meeting of shiva and shakti, of yin and yang, the 'Israel' state (is = isis or feminine, ra = sun or masculine energy, el or elohim is the absolute). The crown chakra is beyond the solar system and represents only the descent of divinity into the human soul, or ascension of the soul to unity with the absolute. It is not represented by a celestial body.

The north node (rahu) and south node (ketu) from vedic astrology, themselves seen as 'grahas' or planetary bodies, are simply the upward and downward motion of the kundalini energy related to the waning and waxing phases of the moon.

"The dashas are the unravelling of karma through time." A quote by Indian Vedic astrologer K. N. Rao. We need a map to navigate through space. Just as important is a map to help us navigate through time, namely the period ruled by a certain planet termed "dasha." A dasha is a period of time in your life when one planet controls your destiny. Its impact is stronger than the other planets in that period. I have found this aspect of astrology to be the most important when it comes to charting a roadmap to your life, especially during a kundalini awakening, it is helpful to see which planet holds sway for the next period of time. It made my life easier to be forewarned of danger and rough patches ahead. Life would be very tough if all our karma was dished out all at once. By means of astrology one has a chance to know what will unfold when so we can make the best of the opportunities given to us.


  1. Dear Vivek
    Thank you for this great article and for the other comment which was very helpful to me

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Being an Hobby Astrologer myself, this is a phenomenal connection to both astrology and chakras
    very deep study and thought


    1. Thanks a lot Sesh. Glad you liked it.

    2. Re-reading my post, I realize I left out two things that may be helpful

      1) Each chakra (except the crown) has a male and female polarity associated with it. Taurus is the female sign of Venus and Libra is the male. This duality culminates in the third eye where there is Sun (male - Leo) and Moon (female-Cancer) that come together.

      2) Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are not represented in the chakric system. All three of the outer planets move very slowly through the zodiac. Their effects get spread out over longer periods of time than the traditional planets. Uranus, being the fastest of the three, still takes about 84 years to complete its journey through the signs. In one respect, we can think of the outer planets as having more significance as representing generational and evolutionary cycles. This means that these planets affect entire generations. A whole group of people born over a span of several years are affected in a certain way. Since the outer planets move so slowly through the zodiac they usually don’t even complete one circuit of a natal chart in a lifetime; therefore their effects on any part of your life are experienced only once.

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