“Six thousand years ago, when the human mind was still half asleep, Chaldean priests were standing on their watchtowers, scanning the stars.”
(from The Sleepwalkers by Arthur Koestler)
I love knowing that the rational, mythical, symbolic, and empirical art of astrology has been around for at least six thousand years. Our increasing contemporary awareness of the interconnectedness of all things was well known in antiquity: the ancient maxim “As above, so below” still applies. Astrologers operate on the margins of our fragmenting, reductionist culture. But we represent an unbroken line to a time that, in many ways, was wiser than ours is now. Being a tiny thread in that weave gives me a deep sense of pride, connection, and rootedness.
I love being able to look out at the night sky, seeing the beauty of the lunar cycle and the visible planets in their ever changing, ever repeating patterns, knowing that being an astrologer offers one the privilege of perceiving not only astronomy but also symbolic meaning out there. I can still recall the exhilaration I felt on a freezing cold, clear night in January 1986 on a visit to the Outer Hebrides. My brother, a Merchant Navy captain, was able to point out Saturn to me – the first time I had ever seen that venerable planet with the naked eye. Saturn’s meaning was also present that night; we were on our way back from the wake for an old uncle who had just died.
I love the fact that I started out as a dismisser of our ancient art and ended up its devoted practitioner. I had set out to confront my embarrassment at the inexplicable fascination I had developed for a subject that I considered to be beneath my intellectual consideration! This is the typical position of ignorance combined with arrogance from which many people dismiss astrology, not realising there is a subject of great depth and power beyond the Sun Signs of astrology’s public face. I embarked on a course of study with the Faculty of Astrological Studies in the early 1980s to prove to myself through study, rather than ignorant dismissal, that there was nothing to astrology. I have kept up an unbroken interest since then for nearly 30 years. If you want to read the strange story of how my astrological career began in a launderette in Bath, England, UK, check out this link!
I love how literal astrology can be. Saturn met Neptune in November 1989 and the Berlin Wall came down. There was a Jupiter-Uranus conjunction in Libra in July 1969 when a huge co-operative effort of unique scientific endeavour put the first human on the Moon. The day Pluto first went into Sagittarius in January 1995, there was a massive earthquake in Japan and the city of Kobe went up in flames. At that same time, John Paul, the best-travelled Pope ever, preached to an open-air audience of over a million people in Manila in the Philippines. To lower the tone somewhat, I was having lunch with a bank manager friend of mine on March 7, 1985, the day Saturn turned retrograde on my Scorpio IC. For no apparent reason (being sober at the time!), I passed out, just as another bank manager and friend of my friend was passing the restaurant window. They both ended up carting me home between them.
I love the impossibility of ever getting on top of, or to the end of, one’s astrological studies. I have never applied myself to Chinese or Hindu astrology, not yet feeling I have enough of a grasp of the Western tradition into which I was born….and you can do hundreds or thousands of horoscope readings, teach hundreds of classes with thousands of students, and someone will STILL come up with a manifestation of Venus combined with Saturn, or Mercury combined with Neptune, that you have never before come across or thought of.
I love astrology for the help it has given me (and countless other people who are willing to look within and try to be honest about themselves) in understanding the quirks and complexities, the gifts and pains, of my personality and life pattern. My studies began as the next step in a lifelong quest to prove that our existence has some meaning, that we are not just butterflies randomly pinned to the board of fate, that we are each here because we have something unique to contribute to the Big Picture. Astrology has provided me with that proof. For that, and to that unbroken line of students and practitioners of our great art stretching right back to those ancient Chaldeans on their watchtowers, I will be forever grateful.
copyright Anne Whitaker 2010
Anne Whitaker lives in Scotland. She obtained her Diploma in Psychological Astrology from the Centre for Psychological Astrology in London, UK, after studying with Liz Greene and the late Charles Harvey from 1995-8. She has had many articles in print, including in TMA, over the years, and in 2009 her first book Jupiter Meets Uranus was published by the American Federation of Astrologers. Anne is currently studying for a Master’s degree, and planning to return to her astrological career after a ten-year break – courtesy of a long bout of Neptune oppositions to her six twelfth house planets……