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The Birth Chart: Why, Not What

This post was written by Anna
on May 12, 2011 | Comments (3)

Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Amy Herring, author of Astrology of the Moon.

Many people see the birth chart as the “map to the soul,” a guide that tells you everything, or at least most things, about a person. Decipher it correctly, and you can determine someone’s strengths, faults, quirks, desires, love life, and shoe size. Those more familiar with astrology and its ins and outs know that it’s not always that cut and dried, that each planet in a sign or house impacts how another planet in a sign in a house manifests. The nuances of reading a chart skillfully involve understanding how each factor may modify the other, and therefore change the stereotype, or the archetype, of each planetary placement.

However, even skillfully understanding the contradictions in a chart still has you in a guessing game: what will and won’t show up? What is overridden or under-emphasized? We can still find ourselves bewildered to find an introverted Aries or a messy Virgo. While sometimes we can conveniently explain these breaks from the norm by a Cancer Moon to internalize that Aries or a Sagittarius Rising to override Virgo’s supposed classic cleanliness, too often we try to fit the astrology onto a person, forcing it on this way and that until it fits our expectations and our list of stereotypical traits, instead of letting the person reveal themselves naturally and observe what they have to teach us about astrology.

One great way to shift the perspective and open up the chart is in the fundamental way to look at a natal chart. If we look at the archetypes of the planets, signs, and houses not as static essences from which people exhibit lists of personality traits, but as necessary energies with which this person has come to engage with to develop themselves, the chart comes alive.

To utilize this philosophy practically, we can try going from asking what this person is to why this person is. Instead of seeing a Scorpio Sun and assuming this person is intense, loyal, deep, sexual, suspicious, obsessive, jealous, and any number of other adjectives that Scorpio is said to represent, we can get to the heart of the person by asking why does this person need to engage with the Scorpio archetype? What is the deepest need of Scorpio and by engaging with this need, what might the soul hope to learn? Of a Scorpio Sun, we might say this person has a deep need to seek and uncover the deepest truth, about themselves and about life, and therefore is responding to this need when they are triggered to dig deep into something, or when they find themselves mistrusting or suspicious of the quick answers someone is giving them.

Something as simple as addressing the deeper needs and the why of each planetary placement, rather than trying to guess which stereotypes apply and which don’t, can open the chart up to a more dynamic interpretation.


Our thanks to Amy Herring for her guest post! For more from Amy, visit her author profile for a full list of her books and articles.

Reader Comments

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#1 
Written By Scott Smith
on May 12th, 2011 @ 8:21 pm

“One great way to shift the perspective and open up the chart is in the fundamental way to look at a natal chart. If we look at the archetypes of the planets, signs, and houses not as static essences from which people exhibit lists of personality traits, but as necessary energies with which this person has come to engage with to develop themselves, the chart comes alive.”

Agreed! Wouldn’t it be lovely if we looked at subjects from an animistic perspective. *grin*

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#2 
Written By Katherine Mayfair
on May 21st, 2011 @ 10:38 pm

As a certified, professional astrologer, I can testify that just reading the teaser above, while about as difficult to understand as 1st grade math to me, LOL…I did find it refreshing, and a valuable insight into to student, and amateur astrologers alike. A wonderful addition to Llew’s library of the astrological sciences/arts.

Katherine Mayfair, PMAFA
Certified Member of the American Federation of Astrologers

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