Yin plus Yang, East plus West
Personally speaking, conjoining astrology with our decades of experience in mapping consciousness through Buddhist meditation has been a fruitful way for us to understand our talents, pitfalls and personal preferences.
This understanding has allowed us to adapt, learn and make more conscious choices on our way towards greater spiritual unfoldment. Buddhist philosophy a.k.a. “dharma” calls this “liberation.” We call it freedom.
From a Taoist perspective, Buddhist philosophy may be characterized as more yin, due to its introspective nature (i.e., studying consciousness). Western traditions – like Western culture itself – have always been more about how we manifest on the exterior plane, more yang. Bringing the two together makes for excellent balance in our spiritual practice and awareness.
At our retreat center, Clear Sky, we sometimes talk about what is happening with our lives over meals together. We’ll pull our astrology charts out and have a look at what light they can shed. We might look at a situation that’s puzzling us, or explore how to best move forward when we feel like we’re at a crossroads.
Archetypes from our own Culture
Without realizing it, most of us as Westerners are already familiar with most of the astrological archetypes. Most of us know, or catch on quickly, that Venus is about love, Aquarius is about community and utopian ideals, and Mars is about masculinity and assertiveness. No surprises there – it’s all built into our cultural understanding.
Being based in our cultural paradigm makes astrology very accessible for Westerners. Since time and energy can be in short supply, for some of us it makes sense to pick low-hanging fruit to advance our spiritual practices.
Studying Me, Transcending Me
Putting astrology and dharma together has been a fascinating experiment for us. As mentioned, on the one hand, dharma is all about understanding that there isn’t really an inherent, fixed, permanent self we think of as “me.” We’re all manifestations of a universal consciousness, and the less I dwell on me, the happier and more useful to others this “non-me” can be, if you catch our meaning.
That said, particularly in the West, we’re all raised and conditioned to be very aware of ‘me’ – my needs, my health, my talents, my individuality, my personal creative expression. So to get from this glorified, conditioned and almost “worshiped” me to “non-me” is quite a journey.
Astrology is a very effective tool to study this ‘me’, in order to transcend it. It helps us get beyond “little ol’ me” to consider grander concerns, such as all living creatures on the planet, and the cosmos. Our natal astrological charts or horoscopes show what the planets were doing in the sky at our moment of birth. They are a highly personalized map of how to get to transcendence or universal consciousness from wherever we happen to be at the moment, and what we can expect along the way.
How to Learn AstroDharma
Like all spiritual paths, astrology is complex, and the potential learnings are vast. Fortunately, a little bit of knowledge and self-knowledge can go a long way. We have taught astrodharma informally to our students for many years, and are now formalizing some of what we teach.
We have designed our new online Intro to Astrodharma Course to be relatively simple and accessible. We’ve also designed it to honor all the work you’ve already done on yourself, and to give you a doorway into the profundity that both dharma and astrology offer. Simple can still be deep and transformational.
To learn more about our introductory self-study online course, go to Awakening through Astrology: Intro to AstroDharma.