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Cosmic Considerations:


...your horoscope, your environment, your soul???

By John Townley, January 2016

Since humans have been noting the patterns in the sky and associating them with people and events on earth, opinions on what the connection is and how it relates to the searching soul have varied wildly. For some, the stars are the grinding wheels of ineluctable fate and predetermine everything, the inalterable roadmap of our lives. For others, they’re just another breeze that challenges our free will and the will of God (though some think they are the will of God, or Nature). Some think the natal horoscope paints the picture of inescapable character, or a window to the soul, while yet others see it as a stylistic/psychological overlay or perhaps (as we surmise) a pattern whose repetitions bring habits and expectations that can be followed or modified.

Regardless of the specifics of the philosophical vision, most include exterior and interior realms that are separate, but which may overlap, to form the thing that appears to be you. Or there may be the possibility that the you part lies entirely outside of both and simply inhabits the combination.

Recently, we have tried to separate out what actually is (and isn’t) in the natal horoscope, as well as what influence subsequent planetary cycles and rhythms may have on it. Here’s a quick refresher:

By its nature, as the map of the initial conditions of your independence from being a subset of the organism that is your mother, it covers only things that come after it, that could subsequently stem from it. So that leaves out anything that’s physically, genetically inherited (from talents and traits to diseases) and anything that developed in the womb before your horoscope happened (like gender, sexual orientation, damage from chemical environment of your mother). Your birth chart pattern can then reinforce or suppress any of these, as transits and progressions bear in an order unique to your nativity, but it isn’t the originator.

The initial deck you land on defines the scene: a peaceful royal yacht offers different options than a ship under pirate attack.

Then there is the external environment you arrive into. That also predates the horoscope, and can only be later modified by it. That includes your social, financial, and locational states. Rich, poor, powerful or oppressed, cosmopolitan or bucolic, your nationality and culture, even (indeed, particularly) the period of history you are limited to. All are already there and waiting, like the deck of a heaving ship you step onto and must adjust to. The rhythm of the subsequent transits and progressions to your horoscope will develop how you handle and shape that environment, but only after you arrive and learn to cope with it. Easier and more likely paths – along with those partly or totally shut to you – are already in place. It’s the essence of real-time reality, the deck you land on and the ship you begin your voyage on.

The horoscope itself, a map of your initial celestial environmental conditions, then becomes a template for developing habits and expectations that make your approach to the future unique – your reinforcement patterns, which add emphasis to or suppress your genetic setup and environmental possibilities, shaping the way you approach what you've got and what’s ahead of you, how you set your sails and steer through weather fair or foul.

Once you're settled on board, it's how you learn to handle the coming weather that tells the story...

Finally, there’s the general sky passages that affect everyone as life goes on, the astro-weather that you and the rest of the world have to navigate, interacting with each other, with varying emphasis and advantages or disadvantages depending on the individual and the surroundings. It’s the wind in your sails, or the storm that tears them, the calm or raging seas that speed you or block your way.  This sky weather can greatly affect the outcome, but it’s what’s happening right on your deck and what you do with it that largely determines the final results.

A total materialist would stop right there, as it’s pretty much a summing-up of all that’s happening. Before and after, inside, outside, above and below, that’s the whole picture, surely enough for a modern Descartes.

Are you a soul separate and eternal, or simply an artifact of the earthly environment, or the stars...or something else entirely?

But there’s another factor that is hard to pin down materially, yet we know it’s critical – it’s the you factor, self-awareness...we feel we’re inhabiting all this stuff, whether it’s external or internal, from our bodies and the chemistry of our brain to the social, political, and moral situation on the ground. What is it that inhabits as opposed to what’s being inhabited? The big question...are you, as that special individual inhabitor, simply a spark from the big cosmic fire in cyclical transformation and reuse, a drop from the ocean that rises, congeals, falls and is ultimately reabsorbed, then evaporated to congeal again, or something more timeless? Are you a melody determined by the overall resonance of the moment? Do we define the space we inhabit, or does it define us? And what, if anything, can astrology or the horoscope inform us about that question? It’s a parallel, but different version of the old determinism/free will, nature/nurture question. Astrology used to seem to weigh in to that debate (on the side of fate), but our more recent inclusive/exclusive new definitions of it really remove any relevance there. Yet, the you issue still remains.


...or are you a fleeting melody entwined with the resonance of the moment, reverberating within the structure of reality?

The traditional approach has been that the you is a soul, separate from history, environment, and experience that is either 1) something indestructible unto itself or 2) the local manifestation of some sort of universal consciousness shared with other integrated systems, living or otherwise. A lot of often-conflicting doctrine, from simple tribal spiritism through more complex concepts of Western Biblical-born or Eastern religions, has arisen from the struggle with this idea. Western versions tend to see the soul as more fixed and eternal, with a separate Deity running operations on a linear timeframe, Eastern as more fleeting or cyclical where the Deity is the overall inclusive situation itself.

But there could be another way of looking at it, very much in line with our recent temporally-3D view of astrology and the world in general. Perhaps the soul, the you that inhabits your space, is the center of a single, irretrievable envelope that always remains, wherein we are our own legacy (as are the times we live in, a permanent set piece), where our substance, inclinations, and developments all together determine the shape of the envelope that abides. Where we both define and are defined by what we inhabit, always, as in a temporally-3D universe (in fact a version of the “multiverse”) “always” is already there. In such a case, our horoscope is simply the ornate doorway of our personal chapel within the greater cathedral of life’s architecture, a thumbnail sketch of the inner halls we help decorate inside.

...or, is your horoscope the ornate entryway to a cathedral that is your life's architecture, already there, abiding forever...?

For some further thoughts on the matter, check out Ella Wheeler Wilcox's soulful poetic take, and Christof Koch's analytic thoughts on panpsychism from the pages of Scientific American...

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