Why a Reading is of Limited Value
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The Art of Reading a Birthchart
Astrologers routinely interpret charts for clients, who want to know what they mean. It is understandable that clients should want their most pressing questions answered, and it can be a valuable service for astrologers to accommodate them or at least provide some insight. But by setting up the expectation that a birthchart can be interpreted in a 90-minute session, the traditional model fails to realize astrology’s potential as a true language of soul. One of the primary differences between traditional astrology and astropoetics is the limited use of the interpretive model in approaching the meaning of a birthchart.
The limits of the reading format may not be obvious to those who take astrology’s potential for granted, or use it on a daily basis with clients.
The birthchart is the symbolic reflection of a highly subjective reality. It cannot be understood very deeply from the outside, in the same way that your innermost thoughts cannot easily be known from the expression on your face.
This is why the best astrologers take their knowledge of astrology with them lightly into a reading with a stranger, only gradually bringing it to bear upon the chart in front of them through a participatory dialogue. Astropoetics takes this one step further by encouraging each individual to use the birthchart as a point of departure for an internal dialogue, and a framework in which to explore life’s questions from the inside out.
The birthchart cannot be “read” in the same way that you read a book, or even deciphered as though you were reading a book written in code.
The symbols of a birthchart have multiple meanings, which change over time depending on the question posed to them, the phase of life at which the question is posed, and the frame of mind of the one posing the question. The expectation established in the interpretive model is that once a chart has been read by a competent reader, it has yielded its secrets once and for all. Nothing can be further from the truth. Students of astropoetics are instead taught how to use the birthchart as a platform for ongoing self-inquiry, with the expectation that a steady stream of fresh information will be forthcoming.
The deepest meaning of the birthchart is not within the birthchart itself.
By focusing on the birthchart itself – which is often what happens in a typical reading of the chart by an astrologer for a client – the illusion is perpetuated that the knowledge and the wisdom to live a conscious life exists somewhere outside of yourself. In and of itself, the birthchart means nothing. It is the consciousness that is channeled through the life reflected by it that gives the symbols meaning.
The Astropoetic Model
What an astropoetic approach to astrology can provide is a point of access to what you already know about yourself and about your life from having lived through a body of experience and learned from it. It can also point you in the direction of your next step with no guarantee that you will take it.
For these reasons, astropoetics deviates from the interpretative model by making the radical suggestion that:
The meaning in a birthchart can only be truly understood by its owner.
At its best, astrology can provide a language of self-inquiry and a framework for self-reflection; and
This is a learning process that will evolve as you bring more consciousness to the symbolism.
The next post in this series is The Cyclical History.
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