The Sky is My Mirror

December 2009

This article is copyrighted and all rights are reserved. No portion of these articles may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including printing, scanning, photocopying, recording, emailing, posting on other web sites, or by any other information storage and retrieval or distribution system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

About This Blog

When I began my study of astrology, nearly 40 years ago, I was enamored of the symbolism, and fascinated by what others were saying about it. Beyond their words, I sensed a certain uncharted exploration of life, as witnessed through an astrological lens, and I knew I wanted to join this small cadre of intrepid explorers in their shared adventure.

At a certain point in my studies, however, I had to stop reading astrology books. 90% of them, it seemed to me, were a mere rehash of what others had experienced or rehashed themselves, or else speculative astrology applying to everyone but no one in particular. It became increasingly disappointing to me that there were few fresh insights arising from actual moments of discovery. Even more noticeably absent were any references at all to using astrology as a spiritual discipline capable of yielding not just analysis, but also personal growth. What had promised to be an experiential exploration of the unknown somehow had, over the years, degenerated into a mere recitation of the litany. Or maybe it was me. In any case, I found myself stepping around too much dogma on the trail to hidden knowledge that had drawn me so long ago.

This nagging sense of chronic angst about the state of the astrological world in which I was a fringe dweller eventually morphed into a determination to teach astrology as an adventure in self-exploration. In 1993, I created The Eye of the Centaur correspondence course, in which I worked individually with each student, inventing each lesson from scratch in order to meet the specific student at the point where their personal adventure met the road to astrological knowledge. Needless to say, this was quite labor intensive.

Eventually, I created a more generic course, supplemented by personal work on the phone and in person at an annual workshop. This format continues, as The Astropoetic School of Soul-Discovery, while the course itself is under a fresh round of revision. My intent in reinventing my own wheel is to incorporate more of the experiences of students and clients who have used this approach, as well as the lives of famous people I admire, whose stories illustrate astropoetic principles at work. The revised course also includes a great many concepts that are new to astrology, but an integral part of the lexicon of astropoetics – a more intuitive, visceral, and experiential approach to astrology that is deeply subjective.

I have learned a great deal working intensively with various students over the course of the last 15 years or so, and in writing my two (and a half) books, and my current revision of the course is my attempt to update the material to include what I have learned. In addition, I intend to write more about astropoetics in a separate blog devoted to the more technical side of it, the side that I actually teach in the course around which The School is built.

The Sky is My Mirror

In this blog – The Sky is My Mirror – it is my parallel intent to share my personal journey as I approach my own life astropoetically. If, after all, the heart and soul of the course that I teach depends upon a willingness to use the chart as a point of entry through which to enter the spiritual adventure at the core of the life behind a chart, then my teaching must begin with my own willingness to do this for myself. My own highest sense of integrity as a teacher demands nothing less.

I could do this many ways. I could present the polished version that shows me in my most favorable light. I could romanticize about the spiritual potential in each moment. I could resort to astrospeak, nodding and winking at the student as I bemoan Saturn on my Sun, or celebrate my Jupiter return. None of this would be in keeping with the nature of astropoetics, which despite the reference to poetry, is just as often a descent into a murky darkness where words cannot easily go, as it is an emergence into light and clarity.

As any seasoned astrologer knows, the birthchart can be approached on many levels, and is capable of yielding an amazing multi-dimensional smorgasbord of information. The downside of this smorgasbord is the same as encountered everywhere in the Internet age: too much information that must be sifted and sorted carefully for nuggets of truth worth mining further. The world does not need more information, nor does the astrological world need another blog merely putting astrological information out there for consumption by those unable to digest what they have already taken in. Instead it is my hope that in this blog I can demonstrate what to do with the astrological information that you already have, so that you can turn your computer off for awhile, and then try it for yourself, using your own birthchart as a point of entry to your own spiritual adventure.

The Earth is My Portal

As I see it now, the birthchart is merely a portal. According to my dictionary a portal is “a doorway, entrance or gate, especially one that is large and imposing.” I was recently reminded of the spiritual dimension of this term by Bill Plotkin, author of Soulcraft: Crossing into Mysteries of Nature and Psyche, which is now on the short list of books that I would take with me were I to be stranded on a desert isle. In March of this year, I attended a Soulcraft workshop in California, where we were charged with the task of creating a portal in nature, a sacred space where we could go to do the inner work that is necessary to a spiritual life, especially a spiritual life that is nature-based.

As the dictionary definition implies, the creation of a portal is an intimidating act, because it is a place where fundamental change occurs. If you take your portal seriously, and do the work it will require of you, you exit the portal a different person than you were when you entered. It is a place of death and rebirth, and there is no guarantee that you will make it through to the other side intact. Many get lost in the tunnel between death and rebirth, and spend their lives in the bardo state, looking for an elusive exit that fades more quickly the more intensely they long for it. Only a certain strength of intention and spiritual will can carry you through to the other side. One should not enter a portal lightly.

As it applies to astrology, the concept of portal refers to the fact that everything in the birthchart is a deep invitation to growth. The more difficult the placement or aspect or planetary pattern, the more compelling the invitation, the higher the potential reward, and the higher the stakes. It is possible to spend your entire astrological life, standing on the near side of the portal, analyzing the hieroglyphics on its outer edge, but the deepest promise of the art requires you to step through the portal, at which point, your knowledge of astrology will provide but a tenuous Ariadne’s thread back through the maze, a slim umbilical cord to the echo of a memory about who you once were that will fade, the deeper into the labyrinth you go.

To read more blog posts, go here.

Copyright 2020-2021 - Joe Landwehr