MIND – Astrology
What is Psychological Astrology?
Psychological astrology was originally developed from an understanding of the works of Freud and Jung. Jung himself was fascinated with astrology, and regularly used it to “find a clue to the core of psychological truth.” Jungian analyst Dr Liz Greene is probably the best-known psychological astrologer. She opened the Centre for Psychological Astrology in London in 1983 with Howard Sasportas, a psychosynthesis psychotherapist. It was set up to foster the cross-fertilization of astrology with the fields of depth, humanistic, and transpersonal psychology.
It is a form of astrology based on using the information in a person’s natal chart to understand an individual’s psychological make up, natural gifts they have, complexes and trauma they are likely to experience, and the general direction of their life path. Your natal chart is a kind of circular map (several of which are visible in the image above) that shows the exact positions of planets, important angles, asteroids and other celestial bodies in relation to the exact location on earth where you were born, at the exact moment you were born. It is basically a snapshot of the position of all objects in the solar system at the minute of your birth.
Psychological astrology is NOT about predicting the future and has nothing in common with the “horoscopes” you can read in magazines and newspapers (which, to be frank, make a mockery of this ancient discipline). It is also not particularly focused on your Sun sign (the constellation the Sun was transiting during the month of your birth). Your sun sign is the tiniest tip of the iceberg of your astrological identity and many people display many more characteristics of other signs in their chart (e.g. the sign of their Ascendant, Moon, Mars etc.). It is these myriad other planetary placements – and the accompanying qualities that may manifest in the personality – that make people so radically different from one another. The complexity and multi-layered nature of our natal charts are the reason that you could be born within a couple of days (or even a couple of hours) of someone else and share the same Sun sign, but have completely different personalities.
In the About Me section of this website you can find an explanation of how I first became interested in Psychological Astrology and how my interest and knowledge in this field has developed over the years.
What can we interpret from a person’s natal chart?
More and more people are learning basic astrology and starting to interpret their natal charts for themselves. I think that’s great and it makes me happy. But the deeper levels of more subtle and complex interpretation require significant study of astrology and I’m here to help with everything, from the surface level stuff down to the deepest, darkest stuff that can be a bit uncomfortable to explore.
The natal chart can be interpreted on several levels:
- Planetary placements (beginner level astrology): the easiest thing to interpret (and many people today are doing this for themselves with the use of free apps and websites) are your planetary placements (e.g. Mercury in Scorpio, Venus in Leo etc.). You can learn a lot from this: your dominant communication style, your love language, your work ethic etc.
- House placements and important angles (intermediate level astrology): You need your birth time (not just date) to be able to plot the position of the 12 Houses on your natal chart. The houses represent different arenas of life (e.g. 1st House: public self, 4th House – early family life, 7th House: partnerships, marriage and the way we relate to “the other”, 10th House – career, and so on). The edges of some houses are also incredibly important and represent certain things (the Ascendant, Descendant, Imum Colei and Midheaven). When we know the house positions and important angles we can see what sign and planets you have in each house. The signs and planets in each house influence the manner in which you approach the different areas of your life and what gifts or challenges you may have in each area.
- Aspects (intermediate level astrology): Just as important as where the planets are in your chart (in terms of position by sign and house) is where the planets are in relation to other planets and angles in your chart. Let’s say you have natal Saturn in Aquarius and your Moon in Leo. Those two placements can tell you plenty about yourself when taken individually, but when we look at the relationship between Saturn and your Moon we can see other things on a much deeper level (and this is where astrology becomes a form of psycho analysis). Aquarius and Leo are 180 degrees in opposition to each other on the wheel of the zodiac, therefore your Saturn placement is in opposition to your Moon placement. You have “Saturn opposition Moon” as a natal aspect. Saturn opposition Moon is tough. So is Saturn square Moon (Saturn at a 90 degree angle to the Moon). Saturn brings discipline, hardship and restrictive energy to whatever it touches and the Moon represents your emotional self, your most vulnerable private self, and your subconscious. Someone with Saturn opposition or square Moon as a natal aspect is likely to have experienced, during childhood, some kind of harsh emotional environment that led to them having to repress certain parts of themselves. They likely had a neglectful / absent – or manipulative / abusive – parent or caregiver and this quite possibly led to feelings of emotional alienation or repression in early life, basic needs not being met, and the development of an insecure attachment style (see Somatic Therapy). Basically, when I see harsh Saturn aspects (squares and oppositions) in a person’s natal chart, I know that person has probably had a rough time in their early relationships and potentially has trust issues and low self-esteem; even if they hide it very well.
- Karma and Past Lives (advanced level astrology): Most astrologers believe in reincarnation in one form or another, and by looking at the Nodes of the Moon and some other important points in a natal chart (and their position by sign, house and aspect) an astrologer can see some things relating to your past life experiences and karma – plus what your karmic tasks are in this life (what you need to do and where you should really focus your efforts in order to “level up” this time around). We can also calculate different types of chart that show the identity of your “original soul,” before its current incarnation. There are, of course other ways to try and access this information if you wish to (Akashic Records, hypnotherapy and regression etc.) but Astrology is a good place to start. This kind of interpretation of the chart can also lead to some pretty good career advice as having a better idea of what you are here to learn in this lifetime can help you move towards making life choices that help you better embody the qualities you are here to develop.
- Comparing natal charts for relationship compatibility – Synastry and Composite charts (advanced level astrology): Once you know the ins and outs of your chart and how you manifest your energy in the world, you can compare your natal chart to the charts of important others in your life, and I don’t just mean romantic partners. You may wish to look at your compatibility with family members, including your parents or children, with close friends, or with someone that you are just starting to get to know (although this is kinda cheating, a bit). There are apps and websites that will do this for you, but I would advise you to take any results with a (large) grain of salt. An algorithm does not know you, or the other person; it is making very general calculations and cannot answer any specific questions you may have about the relationship and its future.
Why should I get a natal chart reading?
Many of us spend a significant part of our lives wondering why we are the way we are, and if there is something wrong with us. The beauty of astrology is that it shows you, with crystalline clarity, that every single aspect of who you are was written in the stars. Not just your strengths and your blessings, but also the things you struggle with. Often, we repeat similar patterns and cycles in life, for example, repeatedly being drawn to the same kind of romantic partner, even though we know deep down that kind of a person is not really good for us. These patterns are a result of projection and a lack of deep self-awareness. The universe keeps sending us the same lesson until we finally learn it, and you specific lessons are visible in your natal chart.
Reading a natal chart report is not always a comfortable experience. Sure, there will be things there that make you smile, and that maybe give you goosebumps, but there will also be things that make you feel challenged and called out. It is difficult to face our shadow and the ways in which we contribute to our own problems. Often it is only when something has gone drastically wrong in our lives that we are open to deep self-analysis and reflection.
When you understand your natal chart – the blueprint of your soul in this incarnation – it brings a level of self-awareness that is massively helpful for growth and healing. Understanding that you are exactly as you were always meant to be, and that the challenges that keep appearing in your life actually make sense because they are here to teach you something important, can actually be very liberating. And it can lead us to a greater level of self-acceptance that is very important for integrating and reconciling the contrasting parts of our personalities so that we can, ultimately, develop greater love and respect for ourselves and a more sensitive awareness of how our unique energy impacts on others and the world around us.
What are the uses of astrological compatibility readings?
Compatibility readings are not only good for finding out whether someone is a good choice for a long-term relationship or not (people often request synastry readings from me in the early phases of a relationship or before moving in or getting engaged), but are also great for working on issues within a long-term relationship. Synastry makes it very clear in exactly what ways two people are operating from very different places and belief systems. Sometimes there is something about our partner that we simply cannot understand; almost as if they are speaking a different language from us at times. Perhaps your partner’s manner of expressing (or not expressing) their emotions, their sexual style, their approach to child-rearing, or money management is very different from yours and this creates issues between you. A Synastry reading can pinpoint exactly where these issues and incompatibilities are coming from and suggest ways in which you can try to meet one another in the middle.
Compatibility readings can also predict the extent to which a relationship is likely to be mutually fulfilling and long-lasting, or not. It’s very obvious to me as an astrologer when the connection between two people is potentially unhealthy and unlikely to last – because, for example, it’s based on chemistry, sexual fascination and a maybe also a past life karmic bond (unfinished business) that’s pulling them back to one another again and again like magnets. It’s also obvious to me when there is long term potential for a successful and fulfilling partnership within which the couple can build a real life together (home, kids, a shared business etc.). I can see the power dynamics and potential abuse, major incompatibilities which may be impossible to overcome, and the ways in which one person might be blind to certain characteristics of the other. Conversely, I can also see clearly when two people are truly meant to be together , when a bond is “fated” and also the ways in which two people have come into one another’s lives in order to transform and bring about the evolution of the other.
Useful resources for further information:
Great introduction to Psychological Astrology: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/what-is-psychological-astrology-5-ways-you-can-use-it-in-your-everyday-life
Introductory articles about basic astrology: https://www.astro.com/astrology/in_info_e.htm
Articles by Dr Liz Greene: https://www.astro.com/astrology/in_greene_e.htm
Article by Robert Hand on the ancient origins and history of Astrology: https://www.astro.com/astrology/hand_his_e.htm