So I’m aware that I’ve dived right in here without giving too much background. Maybe because that’s the nature of astrology, which shows us the nature of the moment and the ways we can seize it. But in case you’re wondering who I am and what I’m doing here (!), here are some thoughts.
I’m a professional astrologer – I see clients, and I teach astrology classes. I do that because astrology is central to who I am and to how I see the world. That’s my strong natal Aquarius energy. I also have Moon in Leo, which shows my passion – possibly obsession – for sharing astrology with others. Also, I follow a pagan path and have done for all of my adult life. For me, astrology is an intrinsic part of that path, a container for my spiritual explorations, and even a tradition that I follow. My spiritual path has been a meandering one, through hedge witchery and connecting with the land to arrive at a kind of hedge druidry. But always with astrology, and also tarot, to guide me along the way.
Astrological personal gnosis
When we study and work with astrology, often we begin with the intellect. We read books, we listen to podcasts, and we attend classes. Which is all good, but for me at least it only took me so far. Astrology really came alive for me when I began to combine my astrological knowledge with the techniques of my pagan practice. I started with journaling and soon moved into pathworking, visualization, and ritual. A more experiential form of astrology that allows the symbolism to wake up and take on a life of its own. An astrology no longer bound by book definitions or other people’s interpretations.
Using astrological symbolism this way allows us to tune in more deeply to the energies around us. We can tune in to the cycles of nature simply by looking out of our window. An awareness of the planets in their signs allows us to broaden that awareness to include the natural cycles of the wider cosmos. For me, the wheel of the year and the wheel of the zodiac are deeply intertwined.
The esoteric and the animist
Modern pagan practice can be seen as having two currents, the esoteric and the animist. The esoteric is deeply rooted in symbolism and systems of correspondence. The animist makes space for every thing to have its own spirit, its own being, regardless of any meaning we might impose on it. The esoteric is a comfort zone for me, I’m happy there. My path has been one of spiritual study for many years. I love the seeking and finding of meaning, which is why I find astrology so inspiring.
But I’m also aware that the wild world, all of the world, is not there as a vehicle for meaning. If I see an unusual bird I’ll wonder about the symbolism of it, maybe even look it up in a book. But I also know that the bird is not there to provide meaning for me, I’m not assuming the presence of some intelligence that has put the bird there for me to find that meaning. The bird is just being a bird, doing its thing, living its life. Any meaning comes from me, exists only in my consciousness. Maybe in the collective consciousness of humanity. Meaning-making, all these systems of symbols, is a human thing. Other creatures seem to exist perfectly well without needing to make life meaningful. For them, life just is. That’s the animist approach.
Meaning and mystery
For myself, I’m happiest at the intersection between these two approaches. In the liminal space between them. I love my spiritual study and my seeking of meaning. But not just for the sake of it. I’m not a fan of forced correspondences, of different systems pushed together. So often they come from Victorian patriarchal magicians, attempts by entitled men to impose some insistence of order on the deep mystery.
Working with astrology and paganism together allows me to find that liminal zone. Where there is meaning and a wisdom tradition. But also space for nature simply to be nature, for the planets to move on their courses. For us to respond to these natural and cosmic energies as we truly experience them, rather than according to what we are told that they mean. The universe, and everything in it, is a pattern of energy in constant motion. The cosmic dance doesn’t just happen outside of us, it happens through us. We are the cosmic dance, just as the planets and the trees and the winds are.
Astrology works with paganism as a way to connect even more deeply to natural cycles and to cosmic energies. And paganism works with astrology by allowing us to experience the esoteric in a more grounded way. By reminding us that all of the universe is nature. That’s what I’m hoping to explore in this blog – I hope you’ll join me for the dance.