Is astrology an instrument of control or understanding?

For the last few months, I’ve been working with a friend to bring the Zodiac Lounge to Philadelphia. Yesterday I spoke with an important connection, based on referral from my friend, to make that happen. We had a good convo about the space where we might have the Zodiac Lounge, some common people we know (as Philly is a wonderful big little town) and some next steps. As we were getting off the phone, she surprised me by relaying a question that someone in the background was asking her, “Do I want our chart (astrological) information?” I laughed and said, “No. I didn’t need that quite yet.” She laughed and then we said our goodbyes.

As I hung up, I wondered for a second if they will think I’m not a serious astrologer if I would be remiss in getting such *vital* information? In fact, at astrology conferences, many astrologers will have their rising, moon and sun signs right on their name tags under their names.  People will have whole conversations talking only about their placements. Even after studying, teaching and practicing astrology for over 20 years, I find that strange and baffling.

I had to think why don’t I think about that kinda stuff first.  The only thing I could realize is that I only use astrology with people I meet in real life, who aren’t clients, when I want to understand something that I don’t understand.  When I’m meeting people for the first time, I want to experience them as I perceive them, not as astrology “snapshots” them.  However, before the first meeting, there’s rarely something that I don’t understand as I don’t have any real information or knowledge of the person anyway. Nor do I want it.  So why do people do use astrology that way? The only thing I could reason is that people are struck by the allure of control that astrology offers.

For many reasons, legitimate or otherwise, people seem to negotiate safety and trust in people through knowledge or things that they feel give the knowledge.  This knowledge can either lead to understanding or feed control issues.  There is a thin line between the two and we can fool ourselves as we dance along that line.

If we use knowledge as a tool of understanding, then we can see how a dynamic works without necessarily attempting to alter it. We may be just content to experience it…or not. When knowledge becomes a tool of control, we feel the need to do something about what can or should happen with this knowledge or to anticipate events based on what we perceive. For me, that’s stressful although I recognize that may be soothing for others.

For instance, let’s say I get the chart info of my new contact before I meet her. Then let’s say she turns out to have a Sun at 29 degrees Taurus, meaning she’s born May 20, 21 or 22 (depending on the year and hour), I might conjecture that I could have problems w/ her based on my recent challenging experiences with people having planets at that degree.  (My Sun is at 29 degrees Scorpio.) Can I truly avoid coming in with possibly erroneous thoughts and perceptions about her based on my experiences? Will I stay disciplined (and open) or will I look for information that confirms my bias?  Likewise, will I modify my behavior to counter perceptions of her behavior that may or may not be there?  If I modify my behavior based on perceptions that haven’t even clearly formed yet, then am I authentically meeting her…or her scarecrow that I’ve made? I tend to think I would be constructing a scarecrow as I won’t have enough information about her to really know.

That’s why I think establishing relationships based on synastry alone is a crapshoot at best. One can blind oneself to a host of possibilities using astrology by ONLY focusing on the astrology, not on how the person is living the chart or a host of other factors. For instance, an astrologer, with enough charts, can find your ideal astrologically derived partner, but what if they’re a different sex than you prefer? Or way older or younger than you prefer? This goes to show you that it’s not just about the astro compatibility.  It’s about how and if you can really meet that person where they are. The astrology is a map to navigate the sea of relationship, not to contain it. It can tell you how vast or close the sea may be, but not always the condition of the waters.

Shying away from sea metaphors for a sec, the compatibility of charts only testify to possibilities and probabilities. I think giving too much primacy to those things sets up too many temptations for control more than understanding.

So I’m glad I said, “Not yet.” If my contacts wonder among themselves about what kind of astrologer I am who doesn’t ask for the info of new people he encounters, then I hope they realize that I’m the adventurous kind. I’ll pick up a map once I get there, but charting out too much before I get to the destination could blind me from seeing what’s most important while giving me the illusion that I know more than I do.