What is Astrology and How Can it Help Us Self-Actualize?
Before we get to the impressive diagnostic capacity of medical astrology, it is foremost important to understand more about astrology and how it was used throughout millennia to help individuals self-actualize, plan ahead, and heal.
We all know something about astrology, but many of us have preconceived notions about what astrology is meant to teach us about ourselves and reality. Many of us may have read our sun sign horoscopes and had our charts read by automated applications, and in many instances, we found our characteristics reflecting back at us in these surface summaries (as personal astrological charts are quite complex and very deep).
But, we may still be curious how being born during a specific time in the year can correspond to certain personality traits and lifestyle tendencies.
As someone who has been practicing and learning more about astrology for over three years, I can tell you that the art and science of astrology is one of the most complex, intriguing and important tools for self-discovery and actualization known to humankind.
In fact, our chart is a personalized mandala of energies that were at play when we came into the world and took our first breath. That breath of life was sealed in us as a unique energetic pattern that was to guide us to the life path and lessons we were meant to learn during this lifetime in order to grow and evolve.
Astrology is predicated on the law of karma – the effect of deeds and action we performed in the past – and karma is understood only through the lens of reincarnation, which is the continuation of the soul’s journey through the duality of time and space in an effort to master the highest frequency of the 12 energetic patterns that we associate with the Zodiac signs.
In short, the Zodiac is known as ‘the wheel of animals,’ as animals are the soul of nature and through her, we can observe the cycles of life, transformation, and death. By utilizing nature’s symbolism, astrology portrays how cosmic law is reflected in natural law through cycles, seasons, and energetic alchemy (transformation) and shows us that in nature – and in us – we can understand the workings of the cosmos and the Source.
As the wise hermetic principle states, “as above, so below; as within, so without”, meaning that our reality is the microcosm of the macrocosm and who we are inside – what we think, prioritize and act upon – is reflected by the circumstances of our lives.
And just like the 12 months of the year, each Zodiac sign represents the energy and characteristics of the month and the season to which it corresponds. Each month personalizes one aspect of a season known as the cardinal, fixed or mutable, which is the astrological interpretation of how the energy behaves inherently – with the first month being emergent/active, the second, steady/focused and the third, changing/morphing.
The Zodiac sign is, therefore, the symbolic interpretation of the inherent nature of the energy that was at play on our earthly plane when we were born, and this energy has a lot to do with the configuration of the planets – the cosmic governors of the Source – at that point in time. The transits of the planets, as shown to us by cycles of seasons and of our lives, is exactly what astrology studies and uses to understand our reality.
And to take it even a step further, the 12 months of the year can simply be seen as the 12 expressions of the sine wave (changes in electromagnetic energy) that the sun follows as it travels through the ecliptic. One expression of that electromagnetic energy is what we know as our sun sign. We are the expressions of that energy, so our mannerisms, personality, and approach to life will mirror it.
But, the astrology puzzle is even more profound and goes even deeper than that. As the sun is the most visible object in our sky and is at its peak during the summer and the Leo season, it also represents the most visible aspects of ourselves – our ego, actions, creativity, and individuality.
The Lion is symbolized as “the king” of the animal kingdom in all mythology (and in the Zodiac), because the sun is at its strongest during that time and provides us with the drive and energy to accomplish our goals and unleash our inner lion.
Why Cultural Myths and Religions Have a Basis in Astrology
Did you know that many of our cultural myths and religious anecdotes derive from the esoteric wisdom of astrology? In fact, these stories were our ancient ancestors’ way of describing the movements of planets as they affected the earth, and personalizing these truths in human dynamic fables that could teach the subsequent generations about them.
By understanding the stories, the young could better be prepared for life and mimic the wisdom that they offered.
As you can see, astrology simply deciphers electromagnetic energy and how it behaves in its 12-form, cyclical nature. From Aries that initiates the cycle with spring and its fiery energy of growth and generation to Pisces that closes the winter with hope and service for the new cycle to arrive, each season teaches us the wisdom of the cosmic cycles that are reflected in all of us.
Greek mythology, for example, is based on the often-times tumultuous relationships between the ‘Gods,’ who were named after the planets, and who lived on Mount Olympus – their mythical home representing the cosmos. These planets were the most visible bodies in the sky, which would have been how our ancestors viewed them as messengers from the Divine.
Zeus, for example, was the archetype of the planet Jupiter, the ruler of the cosmic domain, since he is the largest planet in our solar system. Aphrodite was Venus (the Goddess of Love and Abundance) and Mars was Ares (the God of War), among others.
The myths showed how the energies of the Gods, or planets, played out in the cosmic realm, which had very big implications on the human experience as energetic archetypes. The lessons of these stories show us how the behavior of the Gods is reflected in human archetypes of energies – the feelings, drama, and dilemmas of life and their repercussions.
The same astrological archetypes are present in all of our cultural myths and Bible parables in order to help those that understand the meaning behind these stories live in accordance with the moral implications and truths behind them. One such parable is reaping what one sows, which is the karmic attribution characteristic of the planet Saturn.
Brief History of Astrology
The history of astrology as we know it dates back to Babylonian times, but astrology itself is a lot older than that. The curiosity of how the cosmos influenced us on earth stretches back to about 30,000 years ago when our ancestors started to first observe the movements of the sun and the stars.
Of course, it was not called astrology at that time. In fact, astrology is only one branch of what was called astromancy, a practice of divination based on the movements of stars and planets.
Later, astrology developed into a more human-centered understanding of this relationship that took into account how the planetary transits influenced the energy patterns on earth through the observation of seasons, weather patterns, and other phenomena occurring.
In fact, many practitioners of astrology view astrology as the soul of astronomy – a relationship that is similar to how physics and metaphysics function symbiotically with one another to explain how matter and spirit coexist. In essence, both are the two sides of the same coin.
Ancient Babylonians were the first to codify astrology into a formal practice around 5000 BC in Sumer, Mesopotamia, a civilization that existed between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Then, the science spread to other ancient civilizations – Egypt, Chaldea, and Persia. By about 1000 BC, it was introduced to Greece by Sumerian emigrants and spread from there throughout the Mediterranean region.
The cultural Renaissance in Greece had a lot to do with these migrations from Sumer, Egypt, and Persia, which brought wisdom and esoteric knowledge to the region that would be the basis of Greek philosophy, mathematics, art, and culture.
In 140 AD, being exposed to this wisdom over time, Claudius Ptolemy wrote a four-volume astrology text – the Tetrabiblos – that is considered the quintessential textbook of astrological knowledge. He was a respected Greek astrologer living in Alexandria and is known as the father of modern astrology.
In Iran, astrology played an important part in state planning and decision making where astrological divination was used by the king. Astrology also had a major influence on shaping the course of history, as it was instrumental in the decisions and policies of rulers.
Some of the major historical figures such as Alexander the Great, Julius Cesar, and Genghis Khan were known to utilize the wisdom of astrology in their political strategies. And some of the most current political figures like Ronald Reagan were known to consult astrologers often and were very open about the fact.
Astrology also originated in India about 5,000 BC, around the same time as in Sumer. It is highly likely that both civilizations were connected through trade and exchange at this time, and that many ideas were shared that helped both civilizations evolve. Indian astrology, or Jyotisha, co-evolved with its esoteric Vedic tradition, both complementing each other’s wisdom of the cosmic law.
Interestingly enough, astrology arrived late to the Arabic countries but found quick acceptance by many of its rulers both before and after the emergence of Islam, such as Harun-al-Rashid, the fifth caliph of the Abbasid dynasty, who took astrology very seriously.
Astrology also played a big role in shaping cultural practices in the Far East. For example, in Japan, astrology was used to plan town development and in China, it emerged into its own form of astrology based on Taoist understanding of the universal law, but which held to the same principles underlying the Zodiac.
But unlike the growing separation of astronomy and astrology into separate fields in the West with the growth of materialist thinking and scientific inquiry, in the ancient East, astronomy and astrology coexisted under the same umbrella.
Likewise, the practice had an enormous impact on history and even religious thought. For example, it was instrumental in promoting the doctrine of Christian salvation through personal self-actualization. The independent American ideal of individualism and self-determination is also the product of astrological influence on the country’s ideology, as these principles were the guiding force behind the American War of Independence and the shaping of the modern-day USA.
You would be quite surprised at how history is shaped by these predictions today – from elections to wars, political upheavals, revolutions, or even natural disasters. It has been known widely that both national leaders and ordinary people consulted astrologers for advice on important matters.
In fact, even the Catholic Church is not averse to using astrology as an oracle, as big churches often showcase large astronomical instruments, usually donated by kings and wealthy donors to predict ephemerides of celestial phenomena. Likewise, the Vatican itself has a planetarium and Pope John Paul II was known for his interest in astrology.
The Evolution of Astrology in the West
The history of Western astrology is rather interesting. It was primarily formed during the Renaissance period when astrology was in its heyday and all major rulers, leaders, and thinkers consulted astrologers for advice on important matters. But it was also at this time that astrology began to lose its credibility, because of the growing separation between astronomy and astrology.
This growing divide between astrology and astronomy, along with the rise of Christian ideological fundamentalism and materialism, led to a downgrade and loss of credibility in most parts of Europe.
But there were some astrologers who tried to usher in astrological comeback by engaging in scientific experimentation, so that actual proof could be found that this was actually a serious and very ancient science.
One of the most important figures in the history of astrology that did just that was William Lilly (1602-1681), an English astrologer and horary astronomer, who developed a new system of astrology that included technical systems for charting and interpretation.
This focus on experimentation to prove astrology was a science led to a drastic turn from the occult or spiritual history of astrology, toward its scientific evolution, resulting in its revival.
After Lilly, other Western astrologers contributed to the history of astrology, such as Alan Leo, who was one of the first astrologers to use the Placidus house system of astrology. However, the history of astrology did not really change much after that.
In fact, it became a modernized study of how ancient concepts were observed through modern scientific techniques and experimentation. But one thing remained absolutely constant throughout the Western history of astrology – the total separation between astrology and astronomy.
Modern horoscopes were developed by astrologers in the late 19th century in order to revive the popularity of the practice. The horoscope was a means of commodifying and simplifying the complexity of astrology into a digestible, and mostly superficial modern format that would appeal to the masses. Western astrology then took on a new direction of utilizing astrology’s predictive means to primarily focus on personalized advice and guidance.
Today, due to technology and growth in information access, astrology is being revived once again by modern astrologers who have gained access to ancient writings and the wisdom of ancient traditions.
It is now popularized through many platforms that teach its principles, exposing the masses to its workings, benefits, and the capacity to illuminate the nature of reality.
Medical Astrology as a Healing Diagnostic
Many ancient cultures believed that astrology had deep ties with medicine – from ancient Greece and Ayurvedic traditions of India, to Traditional Herbal Medicine practices of China.
In fact, the history of medicine and astrology is closely intertwined because so much emphasis was placed on the interplay between astronomical bodies and physical bodies. Centuries ago, Astrologers were also healers, using astrological wisdom to diagnose health problems and offer remedies that were taken during specific lunar cycles.
Because astrology has the capacity to map out how energy manifests physically, many ancient astrologers used this knowledge of how energy flows in the body, how it can be stimulated or how it moves blockages in order to treat people who were sick.
Many ancient texts are overflowing with the advice given by astrologers to kings about how they should treat the sick or injured by employing particular healing techniques that involved celestial phenomena of lunar cycles, eclipses and planetary movements.
In India, astrology is not only utilized for predicting personality traits and relationships – but it also serves as a diagnostic tool, allowing the practitioner to formulate a treatment plan for how to heal the client. It allows the astrologer to diagnose how energy flows and how it gets blocked in the person – and then how it can be improved or brought back into balance using various techniques.
This tradition of Jyotish studies how certain energy patterns flow inside a person and how this contributes to how they experience reality.
This is why Indian astrologers are also skilled in Ayurvedic healing techniques, as both of these practices understand how energy moves in order to construct a treatment plan utilizing the right timing, correct herbal protocols, and optimal cycles for detoxification and healing.
The Healer Astrologers: Hippocrates and Paracelsus
An important figure that contributed significantly to the history of astrology as a medical diagnostic tool was Paracelsus, who developed an understanding of astrology as an energetic system – comparable to how Chinese astrology and traditional medicine viewed the human energetic system.
This view demonstrated a more significant role of astrology in medicine – how astrology could be used to heal the body through understanding how the planets affected specific organs and systems.
Astrologers were known to read how organs were affected by transiting planetary energies and how to restore balance in the body.
Astrology has been utilized as a health diagnostic for centuries. But it only became more popular when during Renaissance, European medicine began paying attention to astrology’s diagnostic means by using charts from famous doctors like Hippocrates (the father of medicine) to diagnose how disease affected the body.
He employed astrology in understanding how organs were affected, how planetary energies affect metabolism and how they influence health conditions.
Indeed, it was Hippocrates who famously stated that a doctor who doesn’t know astrology doesn’t know how to cure disease. As Hippocrates wrote in his Aphorisms:
“He who knows how to observe planetary and stellar configurations, will be able to cure diseases which are not otherwise amenable to cure.”
Medical astrology is still in use today, particularly among the Chinese and Indian healing traditions.
Even in the West, the field of medical astrology is very much present today and is an indispensable diagnostic modality that can help individuals heal through the wisdom of personal self-awareness, natal chart effects in the areas designating health and transiting planetary cycles that can ignite a potential health crisis.
Undoubtedly, astrology is one of the most misunderstood and fascinating ancient tools for self-understanding, prediction (in terms of strong potentialities, since we always have free will), and empowerment.
It can help us understand the energies of our constitution, the flow cycles of our lives and how to live in alignment with cosmic energies that will only bring benefits and growth into our lives.
As a detoxification specialist with a solid background in medical astrology, I have been amazed at how my own chart showed such accurate propensity for many health issues that I’ve experienced – including eczema, lymphatic system stagnation and weaknesses of the nervous system. The same is true for others that I’ve helped with my diagnostic and advisory services.
By understanding my own genetic and energetic weaknesses, I was able to better align my lifestyle, dietary and emotional habits to meet the needs of my body. And this is exactly one of the most empowering and transformational aspects of this ancient diagnostic!
And if you’re interested in a medical astrology reading, you’re in luck! I am currently offering a report package that will analyze both your natal chart and the current planetary transits impacting your natal chart in terms of health and energetic bodily weaknesses. The report will also provide you with a customized dietary and lifestyle detox regiment to help you strengthen and regenerate the health areas of concern. To health and the incredible wisdom of astrology!