In my last blog post, I said that I would be dedicating the next post entirely to the importance of “surfing” our astrology. It’s now time to make good on that promise…
Astrology is often criticized as not allowing enough room for individual free will. It is all too easy to interpret astrology fatalistically, as if we were all just “along for the ride” of our lives, on some cosmic conveyor belt. While there is a genuine place for the notion of destiny in astrology, surrendering to astrological influences as if they virtually negated or overrode our free will is a sad waste of an otherwise highly valuable tool.
The tides of astrology are not like a conveyor belt. They are like waves. On a conveyor belt, there is no room for individual expression of free will; all you can do is watch from your narrowly confined position as the scenes pass you by. A wave, on the other hand, can be surfed; it offers wide latitude for movement and the expression of individual will. While the wave has its own power, direction and timing, it can accommodate all sorts of activity within it. The surfer can cut right or left across the wave, cruise steadily ahead or carve out a creative path, ride the tube, and even hang 10. That is to say, as long as the surfer is moving with the wave, he or she can elect to do many things with what the wave has to offer.
My point is that our astrology generally offers us just the same kind of latitude in decision-making as waves offer to surfers. Our astrology gives us a lot of latitude for using our free will. True, there is a sense in which astrology is a kind of “destiny,” because we can’t alter the planets’ paths through the zodiac and thus change their overall astrological influence. So, our free will is limited in the sense that we cannot redirect the astrological waves that we are given to surf. But, this kind of limitation is not necessarily in tension with our free will. Rather, the limitations of our astrology can be taken as just another kind of universal constraint, like your arm span, or gravity, or our inability to pass one solid object through another.
The trick is to figure out ahead of time what the constraints of our astrology are, and to avoid butting up against them. Because we all know about gravity, solids, and our limited arm spans, we accept these limits and naturally work around them. Similarly, we can use astrology to familiarize ourselves with the parameters that demark an upcoming astrological wave, without conceiving of such limits as any more of a reason for fatalism than our arm reach and gravity are.
Just as we have all learned to work comfortably within the physical constraints that confine our choices, we can also learn to work comfortably within our astrological constraints as well. In this way, we can learn to “surf” our astrology. Our astrology will sometimes prevent us from doing certain things, and force us to do other things—a kind of destiny, just as the laws of physics are—but this is not so much a reason for fatalism as it is an invitation to focus our free will into the channels that can and will be effective at any given time. Sometimes, a rough astrological period will feel unpleasant simply because we fail to identify a way to work with it.
No astrological period has to feel bad, nor are we the pawns of our own astrology. In fact, an astrological forecast will often indicate in advance what will feel right, or “in the flow,” at a given time. When your astrology supports moving, for instance, then moving will just start to feel more like the right thing to do. In other words, you usually won’t feel like you’re being forced to do anything during the future astrological influences that at present may seem unwelcome. Conversely, when your astrology does not support getting a promotion at your job, then pushing for one is likely to fail, no matter how cleverly you use your free will. Regardless of how much you may want something, it just won’t feel like it’s happening, when your astrology doesn’t support it. Orienting towards what your astrology does support at the time in question is what I’m referring to as “surfing” the constraints of your astrology.
The main difference between astrological constraints and the constraints of physics is that astrological constraints change over time, whereas the laws of physics don’t. This is partly why astrological constraints aren’t as obvious to us as, say, gravity is. If astrological influences were constant, everyone would long ago have inferred their presence, just as we’ve all inferred the existence of gravity and other laws of physics (interestingly, the laws of physics cannot been seen any more than astrological influences can, but physical laws can be fairly easily inferred, because they have remained consistent and thus easier to recognize and study. If gravity’s effects were ever-changing and differently distributed across the population, then the average person would probably not understand gravity any more than they presently understand astrology).
Astrology is therefore the study of how planetary influences change with time. So, astrology is (in part) the science of describing the coming waves, or surf conditions, of our lives. This kind of forecast offers at least three very valuable rewards:
1) It tells us when the waves will be arriving
2) It tells us what kind of waves will be arriving
3) It tells us how long those waves will last
The first of these rewards gives us a sense of what we need to plan for, and how long we have to prepare for it. As such, it gives us a chance to orient properly towards a coming period. Relatedly, the third of these rewards gives us a sense of how long we ought to be orienting in a certain way, and offers some assurance that a difficult phase will pass within a certain time. I have often found that, regardless of what astrology is involved, my clients will find the strength to endure difficult periods if I can just give them a sense of when those periods will be over. Astrology doesn’t just show us that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel; it also tells us how far away the end of that tunnel is.
Yet, it is the second of the above-mentioned rewards that is the most valuable, and merits the most attention in my view, as I now wish explain in closing this article. Knowing what kind of astrological wave is operative in our lives at a given time will enable us to be most effective with our time and efforts. Just as knowing the day’s weather forecast enables us to be most effective in our plans for the day, having a description of the astrological weather conditions in a given period will help us make optimal use of our energy. Planning a picnic or sailing trip as a violent storm approaches is a sure way to waste one’s energy and risk frustration and disappointment. Likewise, striving for an outcome that requires different astrological weather than what we have in store is a similar recipe for failure.
Instead of fighting against the astrological tides, like a wave-beaten surfer who never turns his board around to travel with the waves, we can simply orient ourselves to work in harmony with our astrology. Knowing which planetary periods, sub-periods and transits are operative at a given time will help us to understand which kinds of plans and goals will have the most astrological support to succeed at that time. In Saturn-heavy periods, for example, our successful projects will be ones in which we patiently and methodically restructure a key framework of our lives, or prune away our less crucial commitments. We are generally better-off seeking peace and centeredness than laughter and happiness in such periods, but faithfully fulfilling our responsibilities while orienting towards stillness and away from stimulation in these times will feel surprisingly blissful and rewarding, nonetheless. Similarly, Ketu-heavy periods support retreat, introspection, and selfless charitable projects, rather than projects that seek worldly gain, enjoyment, or recognition. On the other hand, Jupiter or Venus periods do support enjoyment and outward expansion or opportunities. It’s just a matter of knowing which astrological period is which, and acting accordingly.
When we’ve learned how to do that, we’ve learned how to surf our astrology! And, in this context at least, a surfer’s life is as good as it gets.
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