Why is Reflection so important in Astrology?
Keeping a diary is not just to have something sensational to read on the train as Oscar Wilde said- though that is one un way to use a journal. It is about self knowledge: Socrates said ‘Know Thyself’ and this powerful message was placed above the temple at Delphi as a reminder to those ignorant of who they really are, and of not knowing the layers of the self. Jung said in Man and His Symbols “In contrast to morbid self-concern (Freud) introspection and self-knowledge can be the of the greatest value and importance” (1983: 47).
For me, both in my work in education and in astrology, the primary need is for people to develop self-knowledge as that is most absent in the culture at large. It rests on the idea that true self-reflection is a skill that needs constant encouragement and development. The culture tends to not want us to be introspective, and the push is towards the hive mindset, but the answers are not out there in the commercial world, the truths are inner, and dawn only slowly after developing your reflective muscle.
People are almost engineered subtly to identify with a collective self that is bombarded with advertising to cattle prod them into being the ultimate consumer. Often they commit a kind of self-mutilation and fail to trust their intuition and become ridden with anxieties provoked by external realities. This inner self needs nurturing as it is often is not validated as much as the social self which can take over and we can be swept along by collective waves of flotsam and jetsam. That leaves us with no anchor point. Astrology offers the most subtle and complex tool we have to explore where our personal and collective selves intersect, so it is vital to learn it if possible. We can identify strengths and weakness and rapidly spot where our blind-spots are and counterbalance that. We can spot bias and projections by studying the polarities in signs but writing all this down in a reflective journal boosts this knowledge as a way to increase awareness.
I have always loved writing diaries and saw that memoir, diaries and journals performed a very important function of documenting the process of the daily, weekly, monthly, annual changes of the self. If daily thoughts are recorded, they can be read back months or years later and the larger self becomes revealed on the horizon of your life. Your diary can become your compass point navigating the waters of life. Writing represented by Mercury is that link back and forth from the unconscious to the conscious mind, so it is like channelling Mercury/Hermes when you write. E.M. Forster said ‘I don’t know what I think until I see what I say’ and that’s so true. People speak but often do not know what they are saying. But when they write something takes over the pen or the fingers on the keyboard and insights just appear. It can often be surprising.
While it is a good idea to see how strong your Mercury is -if it is in Gemini or Virgo, or in the 3rd or 6th house or strongly aspected, your fingers may be at the ready. It is not necessary. Mercury is rarely weak and can even be unstoppable in any sign or house- even when retrograde, even when opposed- it will be activated. It is unwise to underestimate the Mercurial. The manner in which he makes all the neural and verbal connections may just take a different slant and could even be more original when it has to strive against obstacles. Mercury making an ‘effort is a force to be reckoned with. It usually finds a way through to express itself.
For those studying astrology a diary is essential. In 2010 I wrote an e-book called ‘Healing Through Writing’ with some extracts here. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the e-book which you can have if you would like to make a small donation only.
The natal chart is one of the finest tools of self-reflection that we possess. It is a map, a guide to the gnarly complexes we have so it repays intensive study and over the years it keeps revealing itself. To write out your self-analysis is one of the greatest things you can do, as with astrology it connects you to the universe. It is profound to be able to articulate your ‘story’ what your personal myths are, which narrative you are clinging on to and which you might prefer to drop or to highlight. Knowing this expands your possibilities, and increases your choices, deepening your understanding of your life trajectory.
How did you get into astrology?
I was a natural autodidact and at age 20 taught myself astrology from books and did hand drawn charts for my friends at College. I didn’t know any other astrologers at the time and the internet did not exist. I had to find work and did teacher training so my attention switched to that. But astrology was always in the back of my mind. I returned to astrology when I began consulting astrologers in 2005, as I had some personal issues that counselling could not answer. But when Uranus conjuncted my MC in 2016-7. Astrology is of course a lifelong study, but I attended the London School of Astrology for 3 years and gained a certificate with distinction. Now I am completing the Diploma, doing research, writing my astrology blog on sun signs, and giving talks at conferences and Astrology groups and doing my own research.
What is the meaning of the name Proteus Astrology?
Proteus is a symbol of divination, of truth telling. He was a sea creature under the ruler ship of Poseidon or Neptune the planet of spirituality. He was difficult to change as he could change shape at will, but once caught he was bound to tell the truth. Proteus is a shapeshifter and this is a great metaphor for self-development as it is curious how much we do that in order to fit in to the collective without being aware that we may be denying parts of ourselves. When you catch him, he has the gift of prophecy and is obliged to tell the truth of the visions he sees, but he would avoid being caught, so there is something useful to understand here that insight will escape us unless we make a strong intention to track it down and coax the truth out of it. I tried to explain this in my article ‘Why the name Proteus?’
What inspires you about astrology?
Astrology inspires me because it brings together so many different spheres of knowledge, history, mythology, biography, politics, therapy, symbolism, archetypes, philosophy, psychology and astronomy. Somehow, they are all fused into the topic of astrology, so no other field can claim this cross disciplinary fertility. I love the way Caroline Casey talks about it ‘bring on the backstage gods as helpers in the ongoing narrative’- we have to ‘invite’ them in. Astrology increases our agency in what seems a fated world. Some things are non-negotiable, but others we can interplay with the energies. She has such a positive proactive understanding of astrology which offers visionary solutions to age-old problems. Astrology is a great tool to study other fields too such as the Arts, and my study of Astrology has helped revive my knowledge in art. I once did a study of Symbolist artists and it is clear they drew their inspiration from the magical and Hermetic traditions which included astrology. Edward Burne-Jones painted the image of Astrologia herself. This lead me to develop research on muse asteroids.
Astrology is an ancient tradition that has been practiced for centuries, so any flak it gets in the press will pass. It may be rising in popularity now but there will be an inevitable backlash. A great Sufi saying is ‘The dogs may bark, but the caravan rolls on’. This is a very Stoical taking the long view of time, and enduring throughout trials and tribulations, but very appropriate. What inspires me is synchronicity – it is as if the universe speaks directly through synchronicity is seeing that urban fox on the very same day that Mercury stations retrograde or that someone is about to play a trick on you, someone who operates by stealth. It is the” as above, so below; as without, so within” philosophy, the ability to read the moment in its holographic entirety. So even tracking a few transits in your life using a diary can give you so much insight. One thing has been forgotten is that there is a muse of Astrology and you can ask her favours. Normally Uranus is associated with astrology so if you have a prominent Uranus in your chart, that could be a sign of interest, but there is also Urania, the muse of astronomy which was traditionally one and same study as astrology. It is worth just contemplating the meaning of a feminine counterpart to Uranus who rules over astrology.
How best do you help clients with astrology?
Years of self therapy and diary writing, having empathy, and being able to listen, being a guide and counsellor to friends have all helped hone my approach to astrology clients. I have decades of experience in being a teacher of not just English but of learning development and educational psychology, so I have given many sessions of help to students and of using various holistic modalities. I just relax, be myself and stay calm and this alone can help people at the bio-energetic level, but I have a very sympathetic approach, human centred-not overdoing the technical side of astrology, but I do like to teach too, so if clients show an interest, I will take time to explain its complexities.
The relationship to my clients is personal but also very professional, confidential, and I strive to find that balance which is very important for me. There is an element of counselling and of coaching so it can be beneficial. A relationship through personal readings and articles to expand the idea way beyond the one that culture has perpetuated that astrology is conflated with fortune telling. The main thing is that a reading can facilitate the ability of the client to empower themselves with a stronger sense of direction.
How do see the role of astrology in contemporary society?
Astrology has been around for centuries. It is not going away and is as relevant now as it ever was. It suffers at the hands of the ‘news industry’, but that goes in cycles and it’s on the up and up at the moment among millennials especially, so it is experiencing a renaissance. One of the things that is boosted is with the recovery of so many texts that had not previously been translated the resurgence of interest is in ancient techniques that have been forgotten until now. But, I often find the opposite too, that people embrace it too eagerly and make everything in their lives about astrology. That’s fine, but it needs to be seen in context. What it means in one place is not the same as how it is seen in another place. It is context specific as well as pointing to universal themes. It is not just sun signs but if you have to start there is it useful to understand how the sun helps us understand our soul purpose.
There’s an explosion of astrology on social media but it is symptomatic of how people are seeking deeper meaning. The world as presented to us in schools, by science, the military and on the news media is devoid of real meaning. People are beginning to realise, there is something missing. They are looking more at the sky and the dance between the sun and the moon. Astrology reaches the parts that other solutions cannot reach, sometimes both religion, belief systems and even science just fails to render to us the full and symbolic meaning inherent in life and in the unfolding of events. It behooves everyone to become aware at the very least of archetypes at play in society, how projections work, and how certain cycles dictate the collective reality and have an influence on our personal development.
What do you think people should look for in their charts?
The main signatures will often stand out clearly but some self awareness is needed to use the chart as a tool that is worth twenty years of psychotherapy. With good understanding, the chart will give clues right there. It could be a stellium of planets in one sign, certain aspect or a singleton planet, or a preponderance of Air and lack of Earth, or a combination of , but once you read the language of the symbols which are like musical notes on a musical score, you can construct a narrative of that person’s life that usually rings true for them and they will agree. Out of every aspect that looks negative something positive can come, and sometimes the opposite is also true, people do not make enough of their positive configurations. As in all things balance is desirable.
Why are asteroids significant? Isn’t there enough crowding in the chart already?
It is true that a chart is already crowded with the nine planets aspects, but I just find asteroids add an extra touch of specific detail and they can now include dwarf planets, Trans-Neptunian Objects and Centaurs. They are not the main dish but they do pinpoint very specific complexes and can add to your story. If you have an asteroid conjunct your Ascendant or mid-heaven, or if they are conjunct on an angle or forming a tight conjunction with other planets then I’d say this is worth noticing and including in the interpretation. Here are some of the key Centaurs, Asteroids and Dwarf Planets that I’ve noted as significant, for me and for charts I’ve studied. Since there are 12000 to choose from, it is a necessarily personal selection only, not exhaustive.
Chiron: the wounded healer and centaur, half-man, half-horse, teacher, healer, skilled in homeopathy and archery, teacher of heros. Mostly he’s been accepted into the pantheon but there was a time he was the alien creature not equal to any other planet. He is a bout sensitive points of learning, woundedness, vulnerability, irony, personal growth, self sabotage.
Vesta: Conjunct my Ascendant. Gives me that ability to channel the violet flame and stoke the spirit fire in the heart. She was also known as Hestia, the hearth.
Psyche: Conjunct my Sun. Psyche is the male soul in female body; the female soul in a male body. She is the essence of the mind, of curiosity and hardship, subjection to tasks, and of an awareness of the soul.
Eros: Venus is not enough to show how we really get our Eros on. Eros was the son of Aphrodite.
Sappho: The alleged 10th Muse who wrote intimate style poetry sometimes for female lovers.
Pholus: a centaur whose meaning is ‘The Buck Stops Here’
Asbolus: a centaur of Explosive energy usually scandals
Chariklo: ‘Bide with me’ the wife of centaur Chiron. Holder of the grounded presence o being.
Ceres: or Demeter, Goddess of nurturing, of agriculture, the Earth and of loss and grief
Pallas Athene: born out of Zeus’s head and great strategist and wise counsellor with an intuitive perspective associated with the owl and also known as Minerva.
Juno: Marriage and partnership issues, good and bad. Often seen with a peacock.
Lillith: the real Eve? the truly independent female energy.
Eris: the uninvited one who decides to get revenge at any cost.
Klotho: One of the three Moira or Fates- ‘the spinner’
Atropos: One of the three Moira or Fates- the ‘inflexible’
Lachesis: One of the three Moira or Fates – ‘the alloter’.
Nemesis: the shadow side of you, all that opposes you and appears as an enemy.
For the Muses see Asteroid Muses.
Why do you do Locational Astrology? How can it help?
I have a very strong traveller archetype – especially when Pluto was in Sagittarius from 1995 to 2008- I moved across the globe bookshelves and all 3 different times to relocate only intuitively aware of the difference it would make to my life. But since studying Locational astrology it makes total sense. Even Geodetics which is each sign mapped across the Longitude lines starting with Aries at Zero degrees Greenwhich and going East. We live on Earth on the land, and that location often gets forgotten as it is too obvious. Where you are is the point of intersection of our coordinates in space and time. That is vitally important in terms of positioning. It is how we conceptualise that dynamic how you think about that – is it linear or is it dynamic?
Does it include change in space and in time? When I realized that locational astrology was about the natal chart mapping on to the globe I was overjoyed. It just felt so right, so obvious, that we feel better in one place rather than another, and that it could be because of certain attribute being highlighted. The same goes for places we feel terrible.
Speaking as a person someone who has lived and worked in different countries outside of the UK, I totally understand the need to ask the question will living in another city or country be better for me? I love that the world looks very different from different cultures. The centre point of your psycho-geography shifts and we see that there is more than one way to live life. There are so many different possibilities. We are moving around for work more in the 21st century so, even if you are not a traveller by nature, you might be considering a move to another city or another country and getting an astrology consultation would be a great idea. I wish I| had had access to that back in 1990. Jim Lewis was not so well known back then.
In what way is Astrology spiritual?
Spirituality is about feeling a connection to the universe. Astrology is like a direct plug into that. Modern life makes us disconnected from meaning. It tells us there’s no god, only science and nothingness. Science has become the religion and they worship the ‘big bang’. People are looking for meaning, so it is really very simple at the core. If you have lost your religion, you have sung into meaninglessness and shopping is the biggest thrill, and that’s not surprising because of hypocrisy and corruption in organized forms of commodification and of religion, they seem prone to abuse, so we may feel at sea without it.
But be careful that astrology doesn’t become just another substitute, just another crutch for supporting weaknesses and lack inside ourselves where we feel we need a father or mother in the sky who is looking down on us and caring or punishing us. That is all we are used to. But there is another way of thinking and this is that there is a divine intelligence at work in the universe and the natal chart offers a momentary glimpse into the secret workings of this intelligence. It shows signs in intuition and subtle perceptions that cannot be explained by the mechanical version of the world that scientists and ‘scientism’ – which itself is practiced as if it were a cult religion- offers us to explain away the unexplainable. So when we start to see the parallels between the aspects and events in our lives, who cannot fail to be filled with awe at that? Synchronicities between your life events and the evolution of your natal chart continue to amaze me, sometimes they can be precise, sometimes literal, but mainly symbolic, so astrology is a symbolic way of understanding the world as if something were speaking to us directly though in an impersonal way. You don’t have to gain this spiritual view of astrology but I think it can elevate the mind through concentration on the core energies and archetypes, and the more we have an understanding of that they deeper and more appreciative we become of our relationships and how . It can show us things we don’t want to see, but I go back to the know thyself dictum, that it is better to know than not to know since the stuff is probably going to happen to us anyway, how we respond it
© Kieron Devlin, Proteus Astrology, 2020.
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