Astrology As A Tool For Selfawareness1


The Art Of Astrology

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A NOTE TO THE NEWCOMER: Welcome to the world of astrology. You will be meeting many new terms and ideas in rather intense form, and you may at times feel that your brain is being stretched. It is! My editor, Charity Heller-Hogge, herself a newcomer to astrology, has tried to alert me to places in the text that might be confusing, and so hopefully the text will be as clear and simple as this incredibly complex subject can be. Though terms will be defined as we go along, you may at times forget what they mean. In the bookmark section at the side of this page, you will find a glossary of astrological terms that you can quickly refer to at any time.

Astrology has two helpful functions. One function is to identify the strengths and abilities we possess so that we can capitalize on them. For instance, it was only because numerous astrologers encouraged me to write that I came to have faith in myself as a writer. Before that, I considered myself a lousy poet and left it at that. I'm still a lousy poet, but astrology gave me the courage to try other kinds of writing that have been more successful and fulfilling. My knowledge of my birth chart resulted in a change in the direction of my career and life—I became an author.

The second function, and the focus of this chapter, is to help us identify ways that we create our own problems and cause unhappiness for ourselves and those around us. As we learned in the introduction, the planets are not responsible for our happiness or unhappiness, _

but only point out the ways we create self-fulfillment or self-defeat. The chart is a guide to facing the resulting problems honestly and directly.

Self-defeat is more of a problem for most of us than any criticism an outsider can inflict on us. Do you know the ways that you are your own worst enemy? Traditionally, astrologers have looked at the twelfth house for the answer to this question, but the whole chart should be surveyed. Studying the charts for planets that are in difficult signs, houses and aspects2 will reveal how you're contributing to your own barriers.

Self-defeating patterns in our lives are like patterns used in making clothes. The same one can be used over and over again. The clothes may look a little different because of variations in material, color, or size, but it's basically the same pattern. Likewise, the people you get involved with romantically, as friends, or in work situations might look a bit different in the beginning but wind up being surprisingly alike. For instance, a woman

1 This section reprinted by permission of Sterling Publications. It appeared in the 1/78 issue of Astrology Guide under my pen name, Marisol Malone, as "Your Way to a Happier Personality—Self Acceptance & Astrology."

2 An aspect is created when two planets form an angle like 60°, 90°, or 180° apart that indicates a particular type of interaction between the two planets—their energies are blended. Some common aspects include the square (90°), and opposition (180°), which are difficult blends, while the trine (120°) and sextile (60°) are harmonious.

Table 1: Signs, Houses, and Planets that are Naturally Connected

©2004 by Donna Cunningham

Table 1: Signs, Houses, and Planets that are Naturally Connected

©2004 by Donna Cunningham

Zodiac Sign:




Matters of the Related House:

Aries: Fire Sign Cardinal



First House: First impressions and first approach to situations; image; appearance; self-presentation.

Taurus: Earth sign Fixed




Second House: Money and ways of earning and managing it; attitudes toward finance; things valued more than money.

Gemini: Air sign Mutable




Third House: Communication; style of thinking and learning; siblings and near relatives; neighbors; basic education.

Cancer: Water sign Cardinal


Fourth House: Home and home life; roots; family ties; heredity; family influence; the nurturing parent; old age.

Leo: Fire Fixed



Fifth House: Children; romance; creativity; self-expression; performing; leisure activities; risk-taking.





Sixth House: Work and its meaning; work habits; types of jobs; coworkers and employees; health and health habits.

Libra: Air




Seventh House: Partnerships— personal and business; close, committed relationships; types of people we attract.






Eighth House: Sexuality; partner's resources; inheritances, grants, etc; taxes; birth, death; transformation; healing.

Sagittarius: Fire




Ninth House: Religion, philosophy of life; higher education, advanced studies; teaching or preaching; law; foreign lands.







Tenth House: Career, long-term goals; how you are remembered; parental authority; bosses, type of boss you are.





Eleventh House: Friendship; peer relationships; group membership; social activism; aspirations.







Twelfth House: Things that are repressed or hidden; self-defeating behavior; chronic illness; service; retreats; spiritual quest.

This table is loosely based on the system of equating signs, houses, and planets that was popularized by Dr. Zipporah Dobyns and taught to several generations of her students. Tiles with the sign glyphs are from Micrographx. Clip Art and glyphs for the planets are from Ancitita.

who wrote to my advice column had been married three times, and all three of her husbands beat her. As tactfully as possible, I replied that three abusive husbands were two too many, that--however unconsciously—she was choosing these men, and that unless she sought help, it was almost a given that the next man she hooked up with would beat her too. My prediction wasn't based on astrology; it just stood to reason.

Once you identify a self-defeating behavior pattern, however, the chart can lead you to an understanding of its root and how to begin correcting it. Each planet, sign, and house describes how you how operate in a particular area of life, as you will learn in the course of this book. Drawing on a system popularized by the late Dr. Zipporah Dobyns, the table on the previous page shows the signs, planets, and houses that are naturally connected with one another. Aries is connected with Mars and the first house, meaning that they have certain qualities and interests in common; Gemini is connected with Mercury and the third house, and so on.

We'll learn about the individual planets and the twelve houses of the horoscope in various chapters. A good starting place is a natal chart reading by a professional astrologer. For reference as we go along, however, you will want a computer printout of your birth chart, if you don't have one already—ask for one that lists the aspects between the planets. You can also specify, if you're not comfortable with the glyphs yet, that the printed version use abbreviations like NE for Neptune and SA for Saturn. For around $30, you can also get a written chart interpretation about 30 pages long. Astronumeric Service is a chart service that's user-friendly for novices to astrology, including a toll-free order number and helpful phone staff: Two other reliable services are Astrolabe,, and Astro Communications,

If you're a beginning student of astrology, you won't be able to draw the connections between planet, sign, and house as yet, but you should be able to when you've finished this book. You will learn that if communication blocks keep you from being understood, you'd analyze Mercury, the third house, and its ruler 3 If you had a problem in love, you'd look at Venus, the seventh house, and its ruler. Over time, you will learn to trace the difficulty all the way back to its origins—it's not enough to say that Mercury in Scorpio illustrates hesitancy about expressing emotions outwardly. How did you get that way? The chart can tell you that, too, if you look at the question psychologically, as we will do in this book.

A common root of self-defeat is self-hatred, one of the most painful emotions you can feel. It is also one of the most crippling, because when you hate yourself, you act in ways that lead others to reject you, or in self-defeating ways that cause you to fail. Rejections and failures then make you hate yourself even more. How can you break out of this cycle? Search for the causes of your self-hatred and then get past them to accept and finally to love yourself.

I doubt if any psychotherapist would quarrel with that, and therapy may be needed to accomplish this deceptively simple-sounding task. However, a thorough understanding of your astrology chart can help greatly in this process. The natal horoscope can create a short cut by identifying the nebulous, generally unconscious, and seemingly irrational-seeming conflicts that lead to self-hatred.

3 The ruler of a house is the planet that rules the sign on the cusp (beginning edge) of that house. If Neptune ruled the tenth house, this would mean that the sign Pisces, which Neptune rules, would be on the tenth house cusp, also known as the Midheaven.

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The Art Of Astrology

The Art Of Astrology

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