We long to know who we are – not just in human terms, but as souls in relation to the grand, seemingly intelligent design that permeates this vast, unfathomable universe.
I call this desire the astropoetic impulse.
Astropoetics is a useful language with which to explore our relation to the grand design and our most deeply connected sense of self.
Astropoetics is an approach to astrology that understands everyday life to be a rich repository of meaningful images. When these images are correlated with the appropriate astrological patterns, they provide a point of entry into an intimately personal understanding of the birthchart and the life it describes.
Unlike traditional astrology, astropoetics does not strive toward an interpretation of the birthchart. Instead it approaches the birthchart as an exploratory window in both time and psychic space through which the soul can be observed gradually learning how to move toward a more complete embrace of its wholeness and its rightful place within the Great Mystery of cosmos.
The Origin of the Word
Using astrology as a primary language, the soul can be observed with uncanny clarity in relation to its movement through various cycles, which wax and wane in predictable rhythm, and are mirrored in the movement of the larger celestial patterns that routinely coalesce and disperse in the sky.
The mystery of soul is best approached through a language that is poetic in its use of words. A poetic language conducts its quest for the truth obliquely – through simile and metaphor, image and symbol, suggestion and allusion, rather than direct, dogmatic statement of fact.
When astrology is approached poetically – as an open-minded intuitive contemplation of imagery and symbolism, rather than as an interpretative system based on established definitions or preconceived ideas – it becomes a potent language of soul that allows for the possibility of deep and penetrating self-discovery.
How Astropoetics Differs From More Traditional Approaches to Astrology
Fate vs. Evolutionary Opportunity
Astrology understands the birthchart to be a signature of fate. While fate is a complex subject with many nuanced understandings, most astrologers accept the idea of fate, while differing in the extent to which they believe it can be mitigated.
Astropoetics understands fate – as reflected in the birthchart – to be an exquisitely designed opportunity for each individual soul to work toward healing and self-realization. This opportunity is a learning process that transcends traditional astrological judgments about good and bad placements, benefic and malefic signatures, and the relative ease or difficulty of birthcharts considered in their entirety.
Fate is not something to mitigate, but rather an elaborate opportunity for the evolution of consciousness to be understood, embraced and lived to the fullest extent possible.
Astropoetics further assumes that what becomes of the potential for good or ill that is harbored within any fate depends entirely upon the individual soul, and the consciousness that he or she brings to the birthchart.
Signs Vs. Symbols
Traditional astrology aims at an objective understanding of the symbolism. As it is routinely practiced today, astrology has become largely a matter of rationally decoding signs that have become short-hand notation for known qualities.
Astropoetics seeks instead to discover unknown sensory, emotional, psychological, mythological and spiritual correlates to symbols, and the images that embody these correlates, along a path that is unique to the individual.
The process is by nature an intimate journey into unfamiliar territory, and the outcome is not something that can be predetermined according to standardized definitions for astrological symbols. Astropoetics assumes that the symbolism must be referenced to both an astrological context (the birthchart considered as a whole) and a living context that is unique to the individual soul, before it can mean anything at all.
Personality Vs. Evolving Sense of Self
Astrology tends to understand the birthchart as a static description of personality undergoing a series of discrete events or processes.
Astropoetics sees the birthchart instead as descriptive of a process that deepens and transmutes in cyclical time, ideally into a clearer, cleaner, more focused expression as increasing awareness is brought to the experience of embodiment it describes. The birthchart is a mirror that reflects back to you a sense of self that changes as your consciousness evolves. What you see in your birthchart depends upon how conscious you are, as well as the level of self-awareness that informs the questions and intentions you bring to the process of self-inquiry.
Causal Vs. Relational Language
To the extent that traditional astrology strives to be scientific, it will adopt science's insistence on causal explanations for its interpretations, even if the language that it uses emphasizes individual choice. Astrologers that are sensitive to this issue might say as Paracelsus did, for example, that "the stars incline; they do not compel." Actually, the stars do nothing but provide an endlessly intriguing mirror to the idiosyncratic landscape of the soul.
Instead of attempting to articulate the causal relationship between heaven and earth, however euphemistically it might be phrased, astropoetics assumes instead that everything astrological is a reflection of an interconnected web of resonant relationships, which reflect back to the individual soul who it is and where it belongs within the greater whole of which it is part.
These relationships are not causal in nature, but expressions of natural metaphorical logic. Our lives are reflected by our birthcharts, not because the arrangement of planets in the sky at the time of our birth causes us to be who we are, but because our lives and the birthcharts that reflect them are part of a larger pattern in which we participate and with which we share a natural affinity.
The entire web of relationships encompassed by this pattern is suggested astrologically by the interconnected nature of the birthchart, which mirrors the coherent internal logic of our subjective soul space. Each resonant relationship within the pattern evolves cyclically through soul time, as it is reflected astrologically in the various cycles of planets that are connected by aspect in soul space.
Alleviation of Suffering Vs. Finding the Portal to Empowerment Within Suffering
Lastly, while traditional astrology – at least that which is psychologically oriented – strives toward an understanding of the human predicament and an alleviation of suffering through a more enlightened perspective, astropoetics aims a bit higher.
Astropoetics strives toward an understanding of how the human predicament is thoroughly infused by the presence of Spirit. This is true, even where the human predicament is most difficult, most painful, most intensely vulnerable, and where the seemingly intractable core issues that mark the embodied life are encountered.
Without attempting to romanticize or otherwise dismiss the pain and suffering inherent in such experiences, astropoetics aims toward a vision broad and deep enough to encompass them as the portals to a deeper, more conscious and more empowered state of being that they ultimately are.
Taken to its highest possibility, astropoetics not only describes the psychological and spiritual landscape of the soul. It also shows us how to live – how and when to apply our creative intelligence in order to play a more conscious part within the greater whole: healing ourselves, actualizing our potential, making a difference in a world that needs our full presence and participation to reach its ultimate expression. Within the astropoetic worldview, suffering is merely the springboard into extreme creativity for those strong enough to make the leap.
Where to Go From Here
Read more about how I use astropoetics to track the soul’s journey here.