by Chad Woodward
Astrology can bring enchantment and connection back into everyday experience, helping us to reinvigorate the familiar axiom, “As above, so below.” Long before the advent of the scientific method, when only seven planets were acknowledged by ancient astronomers, human beings had derived this simple understanding of the universe that still pertains to this day.
This ancient hermetic axiom tells us something truly profound about our existence in such a delightfully simple way. It tells us that everything is connected, that the universe is a reflection of consciousness, and that the state of the external world communicates — it gives us messages and signs.
Astrology is just a sophisticated evolution of reading tea leaves, but the premise is still the same. The universe speaks to us. While our modern mechanistic worldview would snicker at such a notion, tainted by what astrologer and historian Richard Tarnas calls cosmological disenchantment, some part of us can’t help but feel a resonance with that truth. Why not? Why do we need to explain astrology through a concrete mechanistic principle for it to have validity?
This is not to say that such an explanation will never emerge or that it’s irrelevant to the conversation, but what’s wrong with entertaining the notion that the universe is a reflection of all existence? Modern science has pretty much come to the conclusion that matter is made up of empty space — that what we experience is pure energy. When Einstein proposed Relativity, he presented a new modern axiom: time is relative to motion. The stars that we perceive are in vibrational accord with our very cells. If true, the universe that we experience is one being, moving in an incomprehensible cosmic unity.
And so we’re back to what the ancients knew all along. When you ponder this, your existence makes perfect sense. You are an expression of that infinite cosmic dance. You are a piece of all existence, and your perceived separateness is an illusion relative to your speed of motion.
What’s so beautiful about life is that every nuance is significant because it’s an expression of the entire universe. Every seemingly petty and mundane experience has a deeper, metaphysical meaning beyond what it appears to be. If time is relative to motion, then we can surmise that human beings, encased in these fleshy bodies and inundated by fears, dreams, hopes and desires, have chosen for some reason to slow down, to stop and smell the roses and take in all the stars.
When I think about that, I smile inside. It makes the pain, suffering, joy and happiness all the more valuable. When I think about why I’m here, I just remember that I’ve chosen to slow down, to take in the now and glimpse the intimate moments of time and space — those moments that have such value for soul growth and the acquisition of understanding.
I didn’t always feel that way, and I still don’t on some days. I’ve always felt detached from the world and life itself. Astrology has brought me so much understanding about myself. So clearly and poetically astrology reveals my existential plight illustrated in the harmonics inherent to the universe. For whatever reason, I chose this experience. I’m here and I’ve decided that while I’m here I’m going to make the best of it.
Since discovering astrology, I have renewed my connection to this most ancient of human understandings. It awakened my cellular memory of something I always knew but was never conditioned to believe. When William Herschel finally acknowledged Uranus as a planet beyond Saturn, he unwittingly ushered in a new awakening that we have the power and indeed the responsibility to change reality. This realization can be dangerous, but in the end it might be our saving grace. It starts with each of us accepting responsibility for our existence.
I began my struggle with depression as a teenager. Feelings of sadness, hopelessness and despair beleaguered me daily. Quickly, I latched onto antidepressants and later recreational drug use to ease the pain and the symptoms of what I recently heard astrologer Steven Forrest call “existential biofeedback” — how the state of the body reflects our search for meaning.
Although I have come to understand that many of my symptoms had their origin in a malnourished body, at the heart of it was a lack of connection to life, a lack of meaning and purpose. This absence of meaning appears to be a growing predicament for many modern people. When the world is objectified to such an extreme that we lose our engagement with it, the soul recoils from the experience and our life-force dissipates. To truly heal, I had to surrender the belief that I was a victim of some theoretical chemical imbalance and take responsibility for my own body and mind.
Astrology reveals that we came here for a reason. We each have something to contribute to the greater whole. Some creative impulse and intention preceded our physical manifestation. The specific reason for our existence can be interpreted by a mind trained to see reality as a symbolic message composed by the hand of an intelligent messenger.
The Sun, our central star, is the core of our solar system. Everything revolves around its intense, magnetic gravitational field. The Sun is our impetus to live, our drive to be something — the star we all strive to manifest fully. When you think about the Sun as a powerhouse of pure, creative life-force you can see how valuable it is to embrace the astrological Sun in your life, and how imperative it is to feed it.
As a fourth-house Gemini, I have come here to learn to communicate, to simplify deep psychological complexity and abstraction and bring it to a level of communicability. To fight off depression and meaninglessness, I need to feed my inherent curiosity of the world and self-discovery. I need to surrender to that whirlwind of mental influx and revel in it. If I do not do this, I wither and dissipate. When the whole of the natal chart is synthesized in this way, we are presented with a holistic view of what we need to nourish ourselves, what we need to give our lives meaning.
I have since realized that the nihilistic view of the universe is partly true; our lives are meaningless without our conscious collaboration. We must animate our lives with the will to live and survive. Astrology can show us how. It took many a healing crisis to wake me up and realize that I came here for a reason, that I do indeed belong here, and that I have to step up and breathe meaning into my life each and every day. It takes a lot of hard work, but what other choice do I have?
In Carlos Castaneda’s book Journey to Ixtlan, Don Juan asks Carlos, “How can anyone feel so important when we know that death is stalking us?” Don Juan revealed to Carlos that a warrior must surrender his self-importance and realize that his pettiness, fears and self-loathing were nothing in the face of his inevitable death. Death is stalking us all and our time here is short and precious. While I don’t think that we only live one lifetime, I think that we should make the most of this life and realize that every breath has value.
It seems that many people have given up hope or, conversely, have set out on a crusade to save the world. Perhaps these are two diametric expressions of the human attachment to self-importance. It’s hard not to see the world enveloped in entropy and disease. Perhaps the world needs every individual to wake up and learn to nourish themselves and by extension the planet itself. We need to feed life and meaning into our greater collective and individual purposes.
It starts with the realization that we’re a part of something greater than ourselves, and that our compartmentalized lives are not really isolated from the rest of the universe. If we perceive that the world is dying, we have but forgotten how to nourish it and let it thrive. If we are the cells of the Earth, vibrating in accord with the ghostly distant light of stars and galaxies, we must learn to feed the stars within ourselves. A little idealistic, but it’s the hope that keeps me going. I don’t need to save the world. I don’t need to save myself. I simply need to be what I inherently am and shine.
When the world is viewed through a symbolic lens, we can perceive the current state of affairs as existential biofeedback. It is not our specialness or self-importance that the world requires, but the acknowledgement of our responsibility to assist the world in meeting its needs.
While our universe is expanding and our world rapidly changing, we must stop and consider whether we truly understand that truth that transcends history: as above, so below. The sky is within you and you are the sky. Your cells are in accord with the stars. When you feed your cells, when you feed your soul, you feed the stars — you feed the whole.
Chad Woodward is an astrologer, bodyworker and writer currently living in Southern California. You can find Chad’s writings on his blog at kosmicmind.blogspot.com.