My Approach to Astrology

Astrology is a complex, symbolic language that can be understood and appreciated on whatever level of consciousness it is approached:

 

  • There are those – perhaps hoping only for a moment's escape or some cheap entertainment – who will find something of value by turning to the daily horoscope in the newspaper.

 

  • There are others, wishing to know themselves better, who might find comfort in cookbook descriptions of signs, aspects and transits that confirm their sense of self.

 

  • Some, yearning for predictability and a greater sense of control over chaotic lives, look to astrology for its predictive potential.

 

  • Still others, caught in the midst of crisis, may turn to an astrologer or a study of astrology for guidance in dealing with difficult life issues.

 

  • Those with a spiritual orientation may see astrology’s potential as a language of soul, a source of self-guidance, and an ongoing practice in deepening self-awareness.

 

Whatever the motivation for your involvement, the symbolism of a birthchart will reveal itself to you on a level that mirrors your intent.  It has always been my interest in working at the deepest possible level with each person, and at the same time to meet each person where they are, and start there.

 

I believe that the birthchart provides a map, a mirror, and a timetable for the unfoldment of the soul's journey throughout a lifetime of experience, and that the symbolic logic of a birthchart weaves this experience together into meaningful patterns that can be explored.

 

I believe that the birthchart is more useful as a point of departure for a journey of self-reflection than it is as something to be interpreted.  While there are many excellent astrologers out there who can shed light on your chart and your life process, for those who are willing to make the effort, I believe astrology works best as an endlessly fascinating system of self-guidance.


By establishing an ongoing relationship of inquiry and observation in connection to the symbolism of your birthchart, it is possible to gradually penetrate the mysteries of selfhood from a very intimate place of knowing that is not dependent upon outside input.


With the self-understanding that evolves from this approach, it is possible to live with a heightened sense of attunement to your soul's agenda, and chart a more conscious course toward the full actualization of your birth potential.

 

The Three Primary Soul Tasks
 

I believe that each of us has taken birth to accomplish three primary soul tasks:

 

  • to address and heal our core wounds

 

  • to learn to love ourselves, others and the world itself with consciousness and compassion

 

  • to discover and pursue a sacred vocation, which actualizes our creative potential in making a unique contribution to the greater whole

 

These three tasks are intertwined and addressed in tandem with each other throughout our lives.  The healing of core issues is not possible without deep self-love.  Our healing process in turn can feed a sacred vocation, and become the nucleus around which a meaningful creative contribution to the greater whole takes shape.  A truly sacred vocation is always a labor of love for self and others and an offering of healing to the world.  As we bring more love into the world, the greater whole of which we are part evolves to embrace its full potential and collective healing becomes possible.

 

The Soul’s Journey

 

 

My approach to these three soul tasks is rooted in the seminal work of Dane Rudhyar, the father of modern psychological astrology, who in the 1970s wove together Jungian, humanistic and transpersonal schools of thought with astrology and esoteric spiritual teachings from the Theosophists and emerging New Age movement.  My passion for astrology was ignited upon reading Rudhyar’s classic, The Astrology of Personality in 1971, and has since been fine-tuned by many voices – among them Marc Edmond Jones, Steven Arroyo, Alexander Ruperti, Steven Forrest, Liz Greene, Greg Bogart, Brad Kochunas, Erin Sullivan, Rick Tarnas and Nick Campion. 

 

From an integration of these voices, marinated in my own experience, personal and professional, I have absorbed the idea that psychological issues are merely the portal for deep spiritual work, and a source of initiation to the soul on its journey toward wholeness.  Psychological issues in turn are usually not very far below the surface of everyday life, where concerns about finances and career; intimate relationships, children and family; physical health and emotional wellbeing demand our attention. 

 

Paying attention – tending to everyday concerns, and especially to the pain and suffering that they engender, potentially leads to awareness of patterns, issues, and perhaps core wounds that lie at the heart of our experiences.  This is not, of course to say, that we cannot also benefit from paying attention to those life experiences that bring us joy or make us glad to be alive.  Of course we can.  In my experience, however, it is the more difficult experiences that provide the deepest opening to soul, and the greatest opportunity for growth.

 

From an astrological perspective, the journey of the soul takes place as various planetary cycles unfold in relation to the natal chart.  At each station of the cycle (by transit or progression), we are presented with recurring opportunities to learn and grow in relation to the patterns being activated.  As we take conscious advantage of these opportunities, and integrate the underlying lessons, we begin to individuate.  Over the course of a lifetime of individuation, we can gradually come to embody the hard-won wisdom of our experiences, cultivate a deeper and more open-hearted compassion, and potentially play a larger role as wise elders and catalysts to the evolution of the collective.

 

The Challenges of the Journey

 

 

This, of course, is the ideal, and the journey is by no means a linear climb.  It instead dips and meanders through many landscapes, internal and external – valleys, canyons and abysses, as well as fields of flowers and mountain peaks. 

 

Dealing with the personal shadow – all those unloved, unclaimed, unknown and repressed parts of self that result in distorted expression of our potentials – is a challenge for all of us, which also plays itself out on the world stage. 

 

Learning about the Other, in all of its many guises, through an encounter with the anima or animus, most often within the realm of relationship, is also a major source of learning and growth, as we gradually become more skilled at separating out our projections from the real person with whom we are in relationship. 

 

Each astrological season brings its own challenges and opportunities, through which we gradually get to know our Self in a wide range of situations, and as a kaleidoscopic turning of multiple interwoven subpersonalities.  Over time, as we circumambulate our Self and our birthchart, a deeper sense of our wholeness and our interconnection to all of life emerges.

Where to Go From Here

 

Read more about my approach to the language of astrology – an approach I call astropoetics here.

Copyright 2020 - Joe Landwehr