Some of you, depending on when you first got to know me, might be surprising to find out I’m doing a year long astrology course and have just paid for a reading – both with the wonderful Hali Karla. You might be asking yourself how someone with a masters in mathematics has arrived at this. And I think you’d be right to wonder.
For a long time, I mostly thought of astrology as horoscopes and the horoscopes I’d come across were ones that are nicely generic and can apply to everyone at any point in their lives. Newspapers which claim that this week pisces are going to feel hurt by someone in their lives and aries are going to find themselves facing a financial challenge. This is so generic as to fit anyone, regardless of their sign.
My journey towards astrology started with tarot being used as a tool for self reflection. I’ve also always loved the moon and a lot of people who talk about tarot online also align their lives to the moon. They pay attention to what part of the cycle it’s in and create ritual around different phases. Whilst I had unclear feelings about the power of the moon in this sense, it does give a nice symbolic way of thinking about and experiencing life and ritual has power in and of itself. I’ve spoken about tarot and ritual before on here and I know that they both have an important role in my life; one for touching in with my heart and the other for setting intentions.
As part of my moon journey, I started listening to Hali’s monthly moon reflections. They had a different flavour each month as she focused on which sign the moon was in. Again, it gave me a cycle to hang my life on – life loses a sense of time and place when you retire. And the twelve different zodiac signs cover 12 key ways of looking at and experiencing life. This means that regardless of your feelings about astrology, if you’d followed her for a year you’d have done some deep and broad reflection.
I loved the recordings partly because of their content, partly because Hali is an artist and partly because I find her voice really soothing and friendly. She seemed very approachable and whilst she was taking it seriously, it wasn’t too serious!
At one stage she talked about charting the moon’s journey through the zodiac signs and seeing how that appears in your life. I wasn’t especially convinced, particularly given I wasn’t really sensing much with moon cycles, but I went along with it. And wow. Without knowing much about the signs, I recorded my activities and energies across a month. As I’m retired I can mostly go with my gut and see where my whims take me. At the end of the month I looked back and saw some interesting themes so carried on making notes. I think the moon had been through the signs three times when I stood back and properly looked at patterns. As I discerned differing energies and priorities, I began to look beyond the stereotypes of the signs and get a better feel for what they are and the two – the signs and my activities – aligned incredibly, and surprisingly, well.
I was somewhat shocked but there had been a couple of times when things had changed suddenly in the day and it transpired that was when the sign had actually changed. I’ve had enough slightly weird, unexplainable things happen to me that I didn’t rule out the power of the moon and the stars. I carried on charting a bit longer to see if the themes continued and I began to notice that some signs had much louder themes, emotions or activities than others.
I was still listening along to the monthly recordings and I was starting to pick up more about astrology and the different signs so I looked up my birth chart and began to learn a little more about it, beyond just knowing I’m a Pisces. For example, I’d not come across the idea of rising signs until recently and just knowing I’m a Cancer rising with Pisces sun gives me a lot of food for thought. It also gave me some interesting insight into my charting. The signs where I wasn’t feeling such a strong pull in a particular direction were the signs which were empty on my birth chart.
By this point, I’d figured out enough about astrology to realise that regardless of whether it is ‘real’ or not, it was another good tool for self reflection. The more I learnt the more obvious this became and this was a big motivating factor in my decision to join Hali’s In The Stars course.
For those of you who aren’t into astrology, a birth chart is made up of the 12 zodiac signs, 12 houses and 10 planets. Each planet represents a different kind of energy or motivation, each sign is a filter for that energy, how we act it out and each house is a different life area. So you can see how a year long course which looks at all of these in detail is going to provide a lot of food for thought and reflective material. And this is how Hali approaches her course.
“The real purpose of astrology [is] to hold a mirror before the evolving self, to tell us what we already know deep within ourselves.”
– Steven Forrest
In the first lesson we were asked what we think astrology is and for me, it’s a symbolic language through which we can develop our self awareness and sense of connection to ourselves and to others. It is a tool which we can use to help understand the ideas and impulses which call to be expressed or wrestled with within. It is a way of relating archetypes to our own lives and seeing how we can work with those to become more like ourselves.
How the moon makes me feel
But I said I got a reading, how can someone else’s reading of my birth chart be self reflective? Well, it turned out, the more I learnt, the more a-ha moments I had and the more I felt like I understood myself and could validate my experiences and perspectives of the world. To have Hali do a reading for me felt like it could be a powerful way of getting external validation and direction and she is excellent at giving you food for thought.
It turns out my reading was actually pretty accurate, and not in a newspaper horoscope kind of way. There were things she touched on that resonated deeply and other aspects that she was able to give words to which I had not yet managed.
So what do I think of astrology now? Well, I still don’t really know. But one of the areas we looked at this week was about how we face and interact with the unknowable. And astrology is dancing with the unknowable. We won’t ever know if it’s ‘real’ and if it is, we won’t know why it works. I am moving towards making peace with that, to accepting the strange, beyond coincidence moments I’ve experienced, and towards a place where I don’t feel I need to question everything.
“Negative capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.”