The Main Cause of Confusion in Astrological Interpretation

Posted on February 18, 2024
Posted by Jim Sher

I think that because I was a therapist before beginning to study astrology I was always oriented towards discovering how it might help me understand the person I was working with as well as in having some important clues about what might be the best approach to take with them. Naturally I learned astrology by reading books and magazines available to me at local new-age bookstores, but as I did, I found them to quite problematic for my purposes. As I’ve said in the previous video, the way astrologers often wrote, was to cause the reader to identify with the interpretation. It seemed to suggest that you are the way you are because of your chart. To some degree, of course, this is true, but then we must ask how free are we?

When an astrologer looks at a natal chart prior to knowing anything about the person, or event what will they be able to see? Actually, they will see a set of probabilities and possibilities at a very high level of abstraction. By high level, I mean very generic and general. What they cannot know is how these principles are actually manifesting in a particular person or event. It is vital that this be recognized.

But, there is another, perhaps trickier issue, which is that for the most part, astrologers have not developed models that clearly show an awareness of how levels of abstraction might operate in all interpretations.  This is apparent in the seminal work of Rex Bills. Originally written in 1971, Bills’ book entitled The Rulership Book lists the keywords for all of the Signs, Planets and Houses and makes no distinctions between levels of abstraction.

For example, let’s take the keywords given for the Sun. Please keep in mind that all of the following keywords are listed in his book as if they are the same. However, I am going to break them down into four different levels. 1) At the highest level of abstraction can be such attributes as: the urge to achieve, ambition, noble character, leadership, and the quality of eminence. 2) The second level might be such things are chief executives, emperors and monarchs, fatherhood, goldsmith, and the quality of dignity. 3) The third level might be concepts such as confident, bragging, egotism, self-reliance, exhaustion, and coaches. 4) Finally, the fourth level might include such specific things as playing cards, diamonds, bright flowers, glaucoma, grapefruit trees, the retina, aromatics herbs, and the day of Sunday.  There are many more examples, to each level, but this list is big enough to illustrate the idea. Now, ask yourself the following question: are these levels the same?

I have just focused on the keywords for the archetypal Sun. But, this system of levels of abstraction must now be applied to all of the planets, signs and houses. What I am encouraging astrologers to do is to constantly be aware of this principle in all of their interpretations. If this isn’t done, will the astrologer’s interpretations not lead to confusion?

How might this affect the way transpersonal astrology counseling is practiced? TA essentially redefines how one ought to understand a chart and how it needs to be lived. It describes the inherent issues and challenges one will face as well as possible motivations and needs they must embody and expand upon. One can also ascertain certain areas of interest they might be attracted to, but not specifically.

If the astrologer understands these general principles and then, at least when appropriate, get to know the person they are communicating with, it becomes possible to see how the general set of possibilities are actually playing out or manifesting in the particular person. They can see how the individual is handling the challenging aspects in the chart, such as the squares, oppositions and inconjuncts. In other words, they can consciously move smoothly up and down the ladder of abstractions between the archetypal chart and the specific person. This is how confusion will be avoided. In fact, if one knows the person well enough, the astrologer can see quite specifically how the person is dealing with their life and even whether they are being authentically who they are meant to be.

This brings us to the central point of TA. One must not assume anything pertaining to how well the person is able to be who they are meant to be., since it is possible that their programming, conditioning and belief systems may have blocked them from being who they were meant to be.  In fact, most of us truly struggle to be fully who we are meant to be. This is why the astrologer needs to see a natal chart as a living and evolving thing, while knowing that it is possible, even likely, for it to become static, rigid and stuck if the individual doesn’t make a conscious effort to move towards fulfilling the highest promise of their chart. This is literally the nature of the transformational process a person can choose to engage in.

Astrology can be used as a tool to help a person align with their personal Tao or Way. This is why it as the conscious way. This must include seeing it as an essential part of the bigger Way in its universal wholeness and unity. This is what is meant when we understand that each chart is an expression of the cosmic need. It is not only how we must be in the world, but how we must serve it as a conscious act of full participation. It is a magnificent combination of personal growth and expression combined with being in simultaneous accord with the much larger cosmic need of the Universe. This requires a total reorientation towards being who you are meant to be, which is what we are born for. It reorients us in how we meet all of the events and developments in our life and how we deal with all of that. We must see that it doesn’t matter what the event is, as the only thing that matter is what we do with it. It becomes simpler when we understand that all of the problems we face in life are meant to change our frame of reference in who we are and how we can participate fully in the life we live.

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2 responses to “The Main Cause of Confusion in Astrological Interpretation”

  1.' Brooke Bryant says:

    You are absolutely right on in what you are sharing. One cannot overlook freewill in the practice of Transpersonal Astrology Counseling. Delving deeper into language and levels of abstraction allow us to explore, examine, understand & talk about how a chart is being lived/could be lived while taking into consideration the possibilities and issues/challenges that are reflected by planetary alignments and transits along the way for growth, learning & evolution. This is what you have extrapolated in your book! Good on you Jim! You’re a contemporary Master of Modern Astrology indeed.

  2.' Kevin D. says:

    “It doesn’t matter what the event is, as the only thing that matters is what we do with it.”

    This is perfectly said and allows us to say that perhaps “we happen to events” more than “events happen to us”.

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