Tracking the Soul
Tracking the soul is how I describe my method for working with astrology as a language of self-reflection. The phrase is taken from my second book of the same name (link to READ: Books: Tracking the Soul), which integrates astrology with the chakra system – so my method includes this approach – but in general also describes a process of getting to know oneself at the deepest possible level over a lifetime of multi-faceted experiences.
As Socrates is reputed by Plato to have said at the trial at which he was sentenced to death for corrupting the youth of ancient Greece, “the unexamined life is not worth living.”
For those that take this dictum to heart, astrology is the consummate language for examining a life, as it brings into focus all those innate psycho-spiritual patterns that coalesce and evolve through cyclical time. As we become intimately familiar with these patterns, we gain greater conscious choice in relation to them, and are able to intentionally shift them toward a higher level of expression.
When I refer to the soul as the subject of our tracking, I am not referring to the immortal soul that is often the focus of religious or spiritual practice, nor am I referring to the reincarnating soul that may or may not move through multiple lifetimes. I do not rule out the possibility that the soul – at least in its ultimate identification with Spirit – is immortal, nor that we reincarnate, but I believe that all that we can actually track astrologically is the embodied soul, the central protagonist in the slowly unwinding story of this life.
I must also be clear that when I speak of the soul in this way, do I mean what is normally understood as ego. I believe that the soul encompasses a sense of identity and purpose (in which the ego participates), but also a hunger for relationship to the mysteries of Spirit that transcend this mortal life (about which ego is usually clueless). The soul seeks to make sense of its experiences, heal and reclaim its broken parts, tend to the quality of life, leave a meaningful mark upon the world, and cultivate an intimate connection with the Source of its being. All of this is part of what we explore when we track the soul through an examined life.
The soul is also multidimensional in ways that play out astrologically. Each planet in the birthchart can be understood as a unique focal point of psychic function, or put another way, as a dimension of the soul, while aspects between planets reflect the complex interweaving between these intrapsychic dimensions. Finally, planetary configurations (involving three or more planets in mutual aspect) symbolize the trackable patterns that arise through intrapsychic dynamics and then reverberate through various repetitive themes that recur throughout our lives.
As these natal patterns are activated by transits and progressions, we have serial opportunities to observe ourselves, learn and grow, and approach our habitual responses to life more consciously and intentionally. Some patterns will have at their core a wound in need of healing; others will tend to reflect various potentials seeking actualization; all will be pivot points around which the soul learns, grows, and gradually evolves in consciousness.
Tracking the Soul Through the Chakras
In my system, I incorporate a consideration of the level of consciousness on which a particular pattern is likely to manifest, using the spiritual psychology of the chakra system as a subtext to the birthchart. Each chakra is the nexus of a motivational framework and a perceptual orientation to the world that colors and to some extent predetermines the nature of the experiences we will have. As consciousness evolves, our focus shifts from one chakra to another, and our experience of life changes to reflect this shift in focus. It is the same reality, but as experienced through a different lens.
While it is impossible to determine the level of consciousness at which a given individual will be living out the patterns in their birthchart, without an extended dialogue with that person, it is possible to make an educated guess about what I call the default pattern – the place where we start our soul’s journey in this life. The default pattern also represents our habitual coping mechanism in times of stress. It operates relatively unconsciously until we intentionally focus on it, and make more conscious choices in relation to it. It is this shift from the unconscious default to conscious choice that marks the ultimate goal of tracking the soul.
Before identifying the default, it is important to note that any planet can manifest on any level of consciousness, and all planets function on a planetary scale marked by expression through all seven chakras. This is what allows for the possibility of an evolution in consciousness as we undertake the soul’s journey with the birthchart as our map.
In order to construct the default, we can note that certain planets are more at home in certain chakras than others and that certain combinations of planets point more readily to certain chakras than others. In addition, my system takes into account house placement, and a number of other factors that help identify particular patterns as likely to express at the level of consciousness represented by one or more chakras.
The layout of the natal birthchart according to this system, including the patterns it contains, is a reflection of the default – which is typically broken into a number of separate, but interlocking chakra patterns, generally with some chakras emphasized more than others. Taken as a whole, the default is an expression of our intention as a soul, describing what we have taken birth to learn, and how we seek to grow.
In the end, where we go, using the map that our default presents is largely up to us. The interweaving of various patterns throughout the natal chart suggests the most likely options for transmuting patterns to higher, more creative, more empowered levels of expression, but the ultimate outcome of the journey depends on our capacity to jump levels through an intentional exercise in consciousness. Every time a particular chakra pattern is activated, we have an opportunity to work with the pattern, heal whatever wounds are harbored there, actualize its full potential, and pull ourselves up by our psycho-spiritual bootstraps.
Within the context of this work, tracking the soul is a matter of remembering what was happening during previous activations of the same type, observing the similarities and differences in relation to what we are experiencing now, identifying repetitive themes, taking stock of what we have learned, and making conscious choices based on the evolutionary trajectory of the pattern.
Where to Go From Here
To listen to a lecture about the theory and practice of Tracking the Soul, go here.
To read the book on which the theory and practice of tracking the soul is based, go here.
For an in-depth consultation exploring your chakra patterns, go here.
Experienced astrologers who wish to learn my system, go here.
To read about a more advanced level of this work based on the spiritual psychology of numbers, go here.