Sunday, 4 July 2010
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle (Adding to the Astrologer's Toolbox)
...it is impossible for the mind to understand what place and purpose a seemingly random event has in the tapestry of the whole. But there are no random events, nor are there events or things that exist by and for themselves,in isolation. The atoms that make up your body were once forged inside stars, and the causes of even the smallest event are virtually infinite and connected with the whole in incomprehensible ways. If you wanted to trace back the cause of any event, you would have to go back all the way to the beginning of creation. The cosmos is not chaotic. The very word cosmos means order. But this is not an order the human mind can ever comprehend, although it can sometimes glimpse it.
This made me think about astrology and how our study of it undeniably helps us to 'glimpse' the order of the cosmos. But, as Tolle says, we can never really comprehend the whole thing.
It also reminded me that the planets and their movements don't 'make' things happen, but merely reflect what happens to us in our individual and collective lives. Astrology constantly reminds us of the ultimate connection between all things, which we often express in terms such as as above, so below or as within, so without. However, astrology should also remind us that we have a choice in the way we act and react emotionally and mentally to the feelings, event and experiences that we attribute to this or that transit or aspect.
Because astrology is a language, with its own jargon, it's very easy to use that language in a limiting, deterministic way. We've all done this, at one time or another. Get a bunch of astrology practitioners together and you'll hear them saying things like With Uranus on my MC, I shouldn't be surprised that I lost my job or Saturn on my Venus is causing problems in my relationships right now!
Saying things in this way implies that the planets are 'causing' our problems. They're not. We are. Perhaps the symbols, myths and meanings we have attached to the planets across millennia have opened up some kind of energetic channel, but the planets in themselves do not cause things to happen. It's not Saturn's fault or Uranus' or any other planet's fault. The planets are neutral, they are not 'good' or 'bad'.
Tolle's book, to quote from the blurb on the back cover, provides the spiritual background for anyone to make their own life - and therefore the world - better and more meaningful. Shattering modern ideas of ego and entitlement, self and society, Tolle exposes the fears that hang over us all and shows how each of us can find happiness and health through a series of life-affirming steps.
Tolle discusses an Indian spiritual teacher, who told his pupils that his secret was that he didn't mind what happened, which Tolle explains is to be in alignment with what it means to be in a relationship of inner nonresistance with what happens. It means not to label [what happens] mentally as good or bad, but to let it be. Does this mean you can no longer take action to bring about change in your life? On the contrary. When the basis for your actions is inner alignment with the present moment, your actions become empowered by the intelligence of Life itself.
Perhaps astrology, used wisely, offers us the same opportunity.
When under a transit a job is lost or a relationship breaks up, instead of blaming the planetary transit, or the partner, or the boss, or the economic climate, or someone or something else, we can recognise that the blaming comes from our own ego and use the experience as an opportunity to see beyond the ego, beyond the identity we derive from playing a job role, or playing the role of wife or husband etc. We can then begin to understand that these are just transient labels that we wear. In recognising and letting go of these ego attachments and the suffering that can occur when these labels are taken away, perhaps we can truly get back to the essence of our being, of who we really are, spiritually and eternally. Even if just for a fleeting moment, we can allow ourselves to just ‘be’, present in the moment, a part of the cosmos, not minding what happens.
It's all too easy to say that so-called difficult transits are an opportunity for growth and development. It's too easy for an astrologer to say that to a client who is going through a time of stress, ill-health, change, loss, grief etc. What use is that to the client on its own, without the astrologer being able to point them in the direction of resources that can help them?
Reading this wonderful book by Tolle is a reminder to me that any practicing astrologer should have at hand a toolbox of helpful and healing resources to refer clients to. This book will certainly be a useful addition to my toolbox, as well as a helpful tool for my own ongoing process.
Writing this post has also reminded me that as astrologers we should also mind our language! I’ll say it again - planets don’t make things happen, we do. We all have the free will to respond to life (and our transits) in any way we like. We don't have to choose suffering and we certainly don't have to pass on our own suffering and our ego based fears to others.
A New Earth - Awakening to your life's purpose by Eckhart Tolle.
In Part 1 , we defined empathy and saw how, when we are in defensive mode, empathy is not always possible. Concluding that empathy itself ...