Discovering one’s life purpose – astrology can help us discover our life purpose. Actually, this is not expressed properly. No one can suddenly discover their life purpose. The term ‘life purpose’ is not meant to refer merely to one’s career or family life. What we can do, however, is to begin to sense that a purpose might exist for us. Developing that sense is the beginning of an evolutionary process which might lead us to feeling a need to make an effort to discover what it is. This is what Joseph Campbell referred to as the ‘Heroes journey’ that leads to the ‘finding of one’s Bliss.’ The notion of ‘Bliss’ is meant here to convey a deep inner sense of knowing why we are here and what we must do to promote and actively pursue this aim.
Acceptance of Oneself – one of the most helpful aspects of astrology is the discovery that it makes possible for us to see that we are who we are which includes aspects of our personality that we are here to develop. When I refer to acceptance I do not mean we can avoid taking responsibility. No, we must do that or else we would not learn and grow. But when we do accept our self, we pave the way for being able to have a positive outlook that then leads to openness to change. It is hard to explain the power of this, but I have seen it many times.
Identifying the developmental phase one is in – One of the first areas to identify is the developmental phase that the person is in at the present stage of their life. We will work together to understand what each phase asks of us. Part of the maturation process includes improving the way we approach and handle the inevitable crises of life. Are we able to work through our problems and challenges with a degree of equanimity. Do we regard crisis as an opportunity? The famous psychiatrist, M. Scott Peck, often asked his clients to recognize that life isn’t easy and that it was never supposed to be easy. We are here to learn and we do so through our experiences, many of which are truly painful. There is pain in life as the Buddha addressed 2,500 years ago. But can we find a way to live our life in a way where we face the ‘pains’ of life but, as Pema Chodron offered, without suffering?
Viewing crisis as an opportunity – Not only this, but it is crisis that is the primary way on which we have the opportunity to see what the ‘difficult’ experiences can show us about our unfulfilled potentials. They may be leading us to a future we have not yet been able to imagine. One of the great values of the Astro-Counseling Process is that we can learn to USE crisis to become aware of the many potentials indicated by our birth chart and discover ways to actualize them. This is difficult to do in just one ‘reading.’ It sometimes takes time to see and ‘feel’ what the amazing possibilities that we can, with patient effort, learn to develop.
Discovering what is in the way – This brings us to an important part of the Astro-Counseling process. We often ask ourselves, “Why do we have trouble knowing more about our potentialities and being able to actualize them?” The counseling process helps us also discover what is in the way (resistances) of perceiving the obstacles and then be able to release them. This is often the heart of any counseling process, including Astro-counseling.
To reveal the multi-layered nature of a person’s psyche – Self-understanding is something that can help us in so many ways, but we are often overwhelmed by the monumental nature of the task. The Astro-counseling process can assist us by gradually disclosing the layers of our psyche in steps so that we learn more about ourselves without being confused or overwhelmed.
The discipline of astrology can add a great deal to the counseling process. It will help us take a deeper look at ourselves and discover what we can and cannot do about the problems we are having in our lives. There are many things that a person can discover when astrology is added to psychology and the counseling process. These discoveries or realizations can bring about deep changes in one’s outlook on life as well as our sense of self.
What We Can Discover
Astrological counseling makes a very different assumption than what we see in the many approaches to psychological counseling being practiced today. I do not regard a person from the viewpoint of what is often called the ‘medical model’ of therapeutic practice. In this model the therapist makes a diagnosis which labels a client in a certain restricted way. The ‘treatment modality’ is then determined from this diagnosis. Instead, Astro-Counseling assumes that we are human beings doing the best we can based on our biological genetics, early childhood experiences, family opportunities, and educational background, etc. This means that we are not only capable of making significant changes in our lives but also able to learn many new things that can make our lives better. Astrology does not imply a ‘fixed fate.’
Astrology describes our potentials – We are not ‘sick’ and we are also not victims of our past or our programming. There are things we can do for ourselves once we know more about our nature and potentialities. This is what astrology offers to us. As our understandings grow, we become more able to make conscious choices that enable us to move forward in a positive way. It can make the transition process easier as well seeing that the needed shift is possible and beneficial. This also helps us deal with the inevitable fears that come up for us during times of transition.
Reducing worry and anxiety – When we begin to look at ourselves as human making an effort to learn and grow, this re-orients us from worrying about ‘what will happen to me’ towards asking ‘what can I do proactively in this transit and set of circumstances. This helps us make a complete reversal from the feeling of being a victim to an empowered person who is engaged in an important process of growth and development.
Expanding our perspective – As we engage in this type of counseling process we are able to make a huge shift as we discover the joy of engaging in a process that ultimately leads to the finding of and participating in our society, culture, nation, or planet. This can be very empowering and can also do something more. Often what a person needs is a new and broader perspective and a more sophisticated one. This can include the seeing both in ourselves and in life the inherent contradictions, enigmas and puzzles that are just an aspect of living. Astrology can help us become conscious of these, which is necessary if we are to work them out.
The Discovery of Meaning and Purpose – It is true that people often go to an astrologer to find out what will happen. But that question usually is hiding the real question which could be phrased as – “When will this be over?”, or “When will this end?”, and even “Why is this happening to me”? Astrology is indeed able to know when a particular transit will end, but for the most part, this is missing the most important point. A much better and more helpful type of question is “What can I learn from this situation?”, “What is its meaning for me?”, “What have I been doing that brought this event into my life” and “What must I learn from this”? In other words, the most important question is this – “How can I benefit from this difficulty”?
Life is not just chaos – Yes, life is often perceived to be completely chaotic and disordered. Astrology can assist us to see when we discover that the ‘apparent’ chaos and confusion of our life experience is, in fact, ordered patterns of cyclic activity. Also, astrology can introduce us to the discovery that our psyche is in fact a multi-layered landscape that can be seen and understood. The ability to see these patterns helps us know what the purposes of these life experiences may be and that there is purpose and meaning to everything that is happening. There is an innate human need that people have for meaning and a sense of purpose to our lives. Because astrology can contribute to our discovery of these needs, it can be very helpful to us.
Connecting to ‘Life’ itself – What we also benefit from is a broader understanding of what can enlighten us and help us feel more connected to life. We feel a greater sense of meaning and purpose through this breadth of vision and it can provide a clear sense that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves. We can actually feel a connection to life and the archetypal life forces that are destined to lead humanity to new, evolutionary states now and in the future.
Crossing into new territory – As we all know, life is challenging and at times, very difficult. But when we are able to use those period where we are full of doubts, fear and anxiety, we can cross over thresholds consciously. Sometimes we are asked to make transitions that can cause us to feel overwhelmed. Astrology counseling can help us realize that crises may actually be doorways to new opportunities.
Knowing about timing – timing is a wonderful thing to know. Much fear and doubt dissipates when we know about timing. Astrology can help us know when to act and when not to, when to prepare to act or when we must wait for more information or a better time to move forward. We see when to adapt and when to strike out on one’s own.
As one can see, there are many ways in which astrology and astrological counseling can help us from the very practical to the psychological, philosophical and spiritual. It can assist us when we are in crisis or when we are simply looking for meaning and ‘Soul’ in what at times, seems like a mechanical and soulless world.
Jim Sher and other teachers at the Sher Institute Offer the Following Services:
Solar Return Readings
Birth Chart Readings