So just what is the astrological birth chart? Well, it is essentially a map of the heavens calculated for the exact date, time and place of birth. Why it works no one really knows – for the planets do not ‘cause’ our personalities or make things happen in our lives here on earth. However, the birth chart is something else too – a map of the human mind. Therefore it can tell us why we attract certain situations and, where, essentially, we are ‘headed’ in life. Not only does it show the kind of person we are, it reveals what might help us to get there and (importantly) what might also hinder us. It can give valuable information on hidden unconscious motivations caused by your family background, for our childhood experience is often responsible for emotional issues later on in adulthood.
On a lighter note, it can indicate the kind of love life you are likely to have, and your prospects for a successful career and financial security. All in all, it illustrates your potential for change and improving your life. Just having that information about your life path is a great starting point.
However, instead of the planets out there ‘causing’ things to happen, they are symbols for what is deep down ‘in here’ – inside us. In our very souls. In astrology, whether sun, moon, Mars or Jupiter, ‘planets’ are just code words for a whole set psychological energies, drives, desires and motivations (some conscious, some working unconsciously) that shape an individual’s nature and their life as a result.
Hence we are born with a set of innate, very individual potentials, and the birth chart can be thought of as a kind of ‘seed’ awaiting development. If you treat the seed properly and tend to its growth, you will have a plant that flourishes successfully.
However, all of that potential, that energy, doesn’t just sit around doing nothing. For what we carry in our soul is active, dynamic, creative – and forever trying to express itself. In other words, what we see on the birth chart is not ‘just psychological’. Something that isn’t ‘just psychological’, in turn, has real force and power – something happens in our lives as a result. You could say it is the power source in the Law of Attraction – you attract from without what is within you.
The psyche is an interplay of forces both conscious and unconscious -in fact mostly the latter. We are full of sublime, unimaginable depths as humans – replete with mysterious drives and patterns of behaviour that depth psychology calls archetypes. Instead of our ‘personality’ being formed through experience as we grow up, the point with archetypes is that they are pre-existent – we enter life already with a set of human tendencies and capacities. In short, we are not born blank slates, to be written on by circumstance. We do have a guide to these driving forces, however – those strange squiggles drawn on to the horoscope wheel representing the sun, the moon, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter etc. They’re archetypal, because we all share them as humans.
Just as we physically mature, so do we grow psychologically, emotionally, spiritually. We undergo various rites of passage in our lives – some small some large – and life changes us as a result. But these major ‘turning points’ in our lives (for example, puberty, the onset of ‘adulthood’, and the so-called ‘mid-life crisis’ later on) are all echoed on the birth chart, too. That is, we can look ahead in time, since planetary positions can be plotted in advance via astronomical tables. And because we know where those planets will be in the future, we can see pretty much how they might affect that person’s life on earth right down to the very week or month. Or even day. This can enable the astrologer to make a prediction about some aspect of your life and experience, according to the nature of the planets involved.
However, this isn’t some self-fulfilled prophecy that wouldn’t have happened had the astrologer not made it. It isn’t just a form of words. A properly interpreted birth chart isn’t a bunch of worthless generalisations than can apply to anyone, for which the astrologer then takes a hefty fee. (Which is how most sceptics would have it.) In other words, there is real insight that is relevant to the individual.
For we aren’t dealing with superficial personality labels – we’re looking at the ‘real you’, as it were. Put simply, the birth chart is a map of who you really are, or what you have to work with, so to speak. When calculated to represent a person’s time, date and place of birth it is one of the few dependable guides to the psyche, to the soul, to the inner core of what we are.
But does this mean we are fated by the birth chart? No – it doesn’t, for there is always choice and free will, right? This occurs right down to the very thoughts you think – and only you are really responsible for what’s going on inside of your head. What is happening with your innermost thoughts and emotions is basically what you are! Are they positive or negative? Hopeful and optimistic, or full of doubt and fear? In the long run, what happens to you reflects something about you. Astrology is no more than that – a map showing the characteristics of the soul. As the great Swiss psychologist Carl Jung (a serious student of astrology himself) noted: ‘The fact is that what happens to a person is characteristic of him. He represents a pattern and all the pieces fit. One by one, as his life proceeds, they fall into place according to some predestined design.’
When I first learned how to interpret a birth chart and studied my own, I knew that it truly described me, that I wasn’t just trying to make it fit. Better still, I was amazed when I found that charts performed for hitherto total strangers could very accurate – I hadn’t even met them and here I was writing about their inner selves, their ambitions, their love lives, the relationship with their parents. Their futures! This is how I knew astrology worked – I had tested it out on myself and my clients. Of course, the only way to see if it works is to try it yourself. All I can say here is that in my work as a consultant astrologer, it has always proved a reliable tool. This is what my clients tell me also!