A Way of Looking At Life and Several Useful Ways of Looking at the Chart

Celestial Navigation or Steering by the Stars

When you’re all at sea, what do you need?  You need orientation. 

Sailors of ancient times used the stars as a tool for navigation.  Astrologers in all times, ancient and modern, do as well.  Properly read, the chart is a kind of “cosmic orientation device,” allowing you to recognize when you are on-course and when you are off.  There is no one part of the chart that acts as the North Star, anchor of the skies.  Instead, the chart itself describes your purest, finest potential, and that is your anchor. 

How can you know whether you are headed the right way unless you know what the right way is?  A read of the positive potential in your chart acts as a powerful reminder of what you came here to do.

The Chart Shows the Shape of your Soul

Now what on earth could that mean—the “shape of your soul?”  Who says souls have shapes and how could you describe one if it did? 

In nature, an animal is a perfect blend of form and function.  An animal’s very body is a description of how it should live, made to inhabit a specific environment and to enact certain specific rhythms, habits and instinctual urges.  Nobody tells an animal this—it just knows. 

As the animal knows how it must live, so is there still inside every human being, however far from instinct she has strayed, the knowledge of how she should live. That way to live is unique from person to person and the chart shows it in startling detail.  Upon hearing the chart read, the listener is struck, the note of instinct is hit, and an individual can begin to live the life they and only they can live.

The Chart as a Perfect Flower

Perfection is, for most people, a static state and an impossible ideal.  We are used to thinking of ourselves as containing perhaps a spark of the divine, but being riddled with negative traits which we’d like to offload.  A lucky few people have arrived at an understanding of perfection as a work-in-progress, ever-changing and always new. 

A flower dancing in the breeze is an apt analogy for perfection:  each flower is unique, beautiful and fills its niche in nature perfectly.  A flower has a center which all parts of the flower spring from.  So does a human being have a center, which is divine, and an everyday personality with many traits emanating from that center, some of which are… less divine! 

Each part of your birth chart can be read as more or less divine, as closer to or further from that perfect center.  In the same way, every personality trait you have (along with those of your friends and family) is an expression of something divine that wants to come out.

You are unique, and all the personality traits you love and hate about yourself are not separate from, but are natural extensions of that center within you which is godly.  They spring outward like the petals of a flower.  You have exactly the eccentricities you need, and working to grow beyond the behaviors that make your life hard is very good work for you.  You are a paradox:  vastly perfect and also a work-in-progress.

Reading your astrology chart as an ideal expression of your life is very like regarding yourself as a perfect flower.  You are here because God needed someone like you to be placed exactly where you are.  You are the only one who can fill the niche.

Life is a Game, and your Chart is the Rules

Life looked at as a game has certain qualities or characteristics.  What constitutes a game?  What makes it a true game and not something else?  One definition might be: a game is a situation where a distinct game piece or character is on a set trajectory or path on the way to accomplishing an objective.  Each game piece possesses or is given certain abilities or gifts, which enable it to participate as a powerful contender in the game.  Each piece also faces obstacles which make it a challenge to accomplish its goal.  When you overcome the obstacles and accomplish the goal, you’ve won. 

The rules of the game contain information about all these things and so does your astrology chart contain the same information about your life.  Your chart tells you what your gifts are—those special talents and abilities you were born to express.  Your chart describes the challenges you are here to face, those obstructions which you seem to be forced to deal with over and over again until you conquer them.  And most importantly, the chart also describes the winning conditions of your life, or your life-purpose—what you need to do in order to live life as a successful, happy You. 

Unfortunately, as human beings we were cast into the game of life without having had a look at the rules.  We have been stuck figuring out life as it goes along and rarely find the time to back away and look at it as a whole to gain perspective.  Mostly we’ve tried living as an ongoing experiment:  if I try this, what will happen?  Maybe I need to do that instead.  We’ve wasted time going in directions that ultimately led nowhere.  If life was a video game, this learn-as-you-go approach would work just fine.  But life is far more complex than any video game and wouldn’t it be nice to cut through the confusion and get oriented?

A good reading of your astrology chart is very much like pausing the game so you can have a look at the rules and reorient yourself before continuing.  This leads directly to one of my all-time favorite analogies:

The Chart as the Owner’s Manual for Your Life

Game-rules and owner’s manuals have a lot in common. The owner’s manual contains all the specifications of this appliance, automobile or other thing you bought, and enables you to troubleshoot and make repairs or find somebody who can.  The owner’s manual gives you an understanding of the thing and how it works.  The owner’s manual also explains proper care and use of the object.  The chart does all this too, but for a human being.

What’s my communication style?  Why do I have trouble communicating with Lisa, while every conversation I have with Darlene just flows like water?

What do I need in relationships?  Why are they such a challenge? Why did Sam leave and why did Rick stay? 

What career would satisfy me?  How do I learn best?  How can I best handle anger?

The answers to these questions and many more can be found in the owner’s manual, which is the birth chart.

Paging Your Immortal Soul—
Please Pick Up The Phone!

Every astrologer, every counselor, every helper listens with a set of assumptions in place.  Being aware and deliberate about the assumptions you make when you listen to another human being allows you to listen to them in more helpful, more empowering ways.  What follows is the set of assumptions in the back of my mind during a reading.  They set the tone of the reading and allow me to put aside my mood of the day and to instead focus on the client and his life.  These assumptions are behind the deep respect I have for every client. 

  • You are an immortal soul of immense power.  That soul is who I am speaking to as I do the reading.
  • You are unique and irreplaceable. 
  • You chose this life for a reason.  You could have chosen something very different, but this is what you chose. 
  • You bit off what you thought you could chew.  The challenges in your chart are exactly the ones you wanted to face and overcome. 
  • You chose family circumstances that would set you up for the life you wanted to live.
  • You came to learn specific lessons with specific people in specific circumstances.  Since you arrived here on Earth in your body, you have continually surrounded yourself with companions who are helping you to learn what you came here to learn. 
  • You didn’t come here just to play and have fun.  You came to do that and also to learn, grow, accomplish and overcome. 
  • You won’t leave content until you do what you came to do.
  • You are indestructible.  Nothing that happens in this life can hurt you permanently, you can withstand even the most bizarre and horrifying experiences and fold them into yourself, remaining whole.  Your goal is to live through all your experiences and use them to better yourself.
  • You have access to everything you’ve ever learned.  Nothing is ever lost or broken.  You are whole. 
  • You are vastly curious and will get yourself into all kinds of karmic trouble for the sake of learning.  Without new things to learn, you’d be bored.

When I think about a person this way, every problem becomes an interesting puzzle.  I look at the chart and at the person and I wonder:  “Why did you volunteer for this problem?  What do you stand to get out of it?  How does it manifest in your life?  How can you get the same benefits, but more easefully?  And how can you grow beyond this problem into a fun, engaging and interesting new problem at the next level?”