Q: Do we fly or do we fall?

Perhaps the greatest challenges in life is when we either try to take advantages of the opportunities and potentials that come along, while at the same time trying to cope positively with the more negative events that threaten to bring us down.

For so many of us, life is somewhat of a roller coaster ride, filled with many ups and downs along the way. Sometimes we are exhilarated by the ups and at other times we’re really scared by the downs. The big challenge we have however is to identify when either of them are about to emerge. It’s so natural for us to seek only the good times. However, it is often a fact that challenges present us with the greater opportunities to understand and grow from what they mean for us.How great it would be therefore is we were able to identify either of these occurrences ahead of time, when we’ll actually be in a better position to take advantage of what they bring to us. A deeper understanding of astrology can well do this, although we’re not in any way talking about a fatalistic belief in prediction or fortune telling.

The kind of astrology I’m referring to here has more to do with developing our inner self-understanding, then directing ourselves to ways of applying this unique inner awareness to turn both positive and negative experiences we encounter into something much more meaningful to us. This more serious kind of astrology is not so much about telling us when something good is going to happen to us, or if something terrible is going to happen. It’s much more about us being aware, in advance, of the kind of trends we have the possibility of encountering, then providing us with meaningful insights into just how we can take the best advantage of them. “In times of peace we must prepare for war!” was what the wise herbalist who taught me astrology initially said to me when explaining my Birth Chart to me for the very first time. He explained that much of what happens to us in our lives is often prompted by our own inner attitudes and, in knowing that, we can adjust our attitudes and therefore our life patterns. We do that by better understand the energy patterns that are embedded at the time, date and place of our birth.

Can you image what difference, if any of this is true, it will make in the lives of those who counsel, heal or educate others? With such knowledge at their disposal, those with person-centered professions can embrace a hugely effective way of helping the individuals they work with. For example, I personally spend a great deal of my time teaching animation students. I believe I am a good teacher and prepare students well for the professional world they are about to enter. In the main what I teach them is strongly foundational - in the sense that I cover a number of the generic subjects and/or skills they each need to know to become successful professionals. Yet even so, there are students who will always not have aptitudes in certain areas compared to others, while at the same time being strong in areas that the others may not be so skilled in. Ultimately each students will have their own strengths and weaknesses and therefore its valuable to know what those weaknesses may be and work with them accordingly on an individual basis. To work with the students that have a greater challenge than most I study their astrological Birth Chart to learn the best way of circumnavigating their challenges and teaching them in a much more suitable way to them. This can even be especially effective when considering a student’s specific life or career objectives. For much of the time they don’t even know I am doing this. They sometimes just succeed regardless.

I am often amazed about the life paths that many of my students follow after they graduate. Their success rate, or not, with regards employment can often seem baffling on the surface too. Sometimes, even the most amazingly talented of them seem to struggle in getting hired, whereas the ones that I never considered as being in the top half of the class somehow seem to fall into a job almost immediately. On the surface its a riddle that seems impossible to fathom out, simply appearing to be a question of one having the “luck” – that is, to be in the right place at the right time - whereas another doesn’t.

But from an astrological perspective there are insights that can shine some light on the issue. Due to confidentiality reasons it is impossible to go into individual cases here, it is not possible to name names. However, suffice it to say that astrology shows us time and time again that everyone is different and it is only by consulting the astrological Birth Chart that we might find solutions on an individual basis. Some are better salesmen than others. Some are more sociable when networking is important. Still others too are somewhat shy and retiring on the surface but prove themselves to be hard working and detail-oriented, ensuring they’re soon in great demand. The secret is to look at the bigger picture, astrologically, to identify these archetypal issues that can often be a major factor in the success of so many people’s lives.

Let me clarify. Traditionally an astrologer will look to the “10th house” of a birth chart to discern matters that relate to career issues. (The houses, 12 in all, relate to specific areas of life experience and the 10th just happens to relate to career and our reputation in the eyes of the world.) However, if the 10th house of an individual’s Birth Chart indicates challenges or a distorted understanding of a person’s status in the eyes of others, it benefits a person to explain to them the situation and the possible remedies to overcome these misconceptions. If the 10th house is well placed however, the problem rarely comes up in the first place! The 5th house on the other hand can suggest areas of creativity and the 6th house an individuals underlying approach to their work (and health). All these come in handy when looking for clues as to where a student can be better suited on the career front than others.

The planet Saturn in a birth chart is often considered “the great limiter” – that is, something that tends to hold us back or pin us down in life, preventing us from reaching our full potential. Jupiter on the other hand is all about expansion and opportunity, an opposite effect that indicates that if it is located in a certain house or Sign of the Zodiac it tends to encourage some degree of success in the areas indicated. In olden days, this was considered where we might be most “lucky” in life, or rewarded abundantly. Consequently, if the planets Saturn or Jupiter are located in the 10th house for example, we might expect quite different outcomes in terms of an individual’s career expectations.

(Note: Not all of Saturn-based indications in a chart need be so negative. Indeed, Saturn in the 10th house might also represent someone who can take years of hard work to get to the top – but be hugely successful in the fullness of time. Alternatively it does tend to give an individual a severe, serious or detached impression to others. For example, the Queen of England has Saturn very highly elevated near the cusp of her 10th house!

Of course it is not always as cut and dried as this from chart to chart, as the whole chart – and therefore the whole person – has to be taken into consideration, not just one single element within it. However, the basic indications above can often begin to explain why there are great variances in the way that many graduates get work.

It is similar in areas of creativity in general. As indicated earlier, the 5th house has long been regarded as the area of the birth chart that defines creative potentials among other things. Clearly this is again a very generic concept but we can paint a picture with a broad brush that may help us understand variances of success and failure in this area. Apart from planetary placements in this house we can also look to the Sign of the Zodiac that rules that house – i.e. it is positioned over the cusp of that house at birth.

With Capricorn “ruling” the 5th house for example we might expect to find someone who is hard working and ambitious with their creative skills. Alternatively, we may find someone who is not especially talented in these areas at all, but they are much more materially minded than artistic and can achieve success that way rather than through any raw artistic talent. Sometimes a person can have both of course but this simple illustration might indicate what an astrologically trained mentor might look for.

If Aquarius is the ruler of the 5th house on the other hand, we might expect someone who’s incredibly revolutionary, innovative or experimental with their creative skills - perhaps so quirky, rebellious and eccentric that they might even be deemed of “genius” potential and somewhat “ahead of their time”.

The bottom line here is that wherever a person is looking for answers in any part of their life there can always be answers that may be found in their astrological birth chart. The uncovering of hidden potentials and an awareness of any potentially challenging issues they may face on their life journey are things that can be sniffed out and planned for. So it’s not a question of “when will such and such happen to me, or for me?” But more a question of revealing areas of a person’s lifethat they can, in principle, be made aware of and adjust to changing circumstances accordingly.

In conclusion, it has to be said that astrology may never give us all of the answers. However, it can give us significant clues, insights and understandings – based on centuries of objective observation – that may well give us a great deal of positive direction in a person’s life. In the longer term we may no doubt discover these things about ourselves the hard way – i.e. by trial and error. However, how liberating it would be to see the things that can significantly affect our lives ahead of time – giving us a much more significant chance of successfully dealing with them in a shorter and more pain free way.

So ultimately we have to ask the question again - do we want to fly, or do we want to fall?

Tony White / @STARTOONZ