My fascination with the stars began on summer evenings spent lying on my back in the grass staring up at the darkening sky. As most of us did, I learned to spot the North Star, the Big and Little Dippers and a few other constellations. I wondered whether men from Mars existed and were lying on their backs in the red dust wondering the same thing about us.
My introduction to astrology came through newspaper horoscopes and monthly predictions in Dell Horoscope magazine and the Bedside Astrologer in Cosmopolitan I read as a teen. However, I was hooked by Linda Goodman and her uncanny explanation of my Pisces self in her Sun Signs book which I read until the cover fell off and the spine collapsed. I bought more books on astrology and sent for a mail-order course. That led me to the myth and archetypes behind this ancient practice and opened up a new world.
As a novice, I knew just enough to dazzle my friends and a few sympathetic relatives with the basics about their Sun signs. Then I began to cast charts, a slow process of patience and precision before astrological software was available. The more I learned the more in awe I became of this ancient art. A natal chart contains layers and nuances that carry us beyond the sun to dig deep into our hidden selves and reveal our gifts, our faults, and our possibilities. I am certain that I could study these planetary configurations and the myths behind them for a lifetime and always discover something new.
Many scientists work hard to prove that astrology is not valid. Many astrologers work just as hard to prove it is. I only know that since Babylonian times, astrologers have guided people by interpreting the movement of the planets in our solar system as it relates to human behavior. Every civilization has a form of astrology designed to help people find inner peace and live vital lives. I believe that this ancient self-help tool is the first psychology. Today, many psychologists and psychiatrists are also accomplished astrologers, and countless others regularly consult with astrologers in order to gain greater insight into their clients.
Astrology validates itself to me when I connect with another human being and help that person realize a trait or a life pattern and understand how they can change or benefit from it. Astrology proves its value in the link between hard fact and elusive truth, the mathematical precision of a birth chart blended with the intuitive interpretation of the archetype that creates a complete story. Astrology challenges me to use it carefully and well and to find new ways to connect the patterns that reveal a personality or predict a trend.
I like that astrology gives personality to the planets. I like that the birth chart is a unique snapshot of our potential and paths in life. I like the story that the archetypes reveal as I study someone’s chart. I’m not sure how or why it works. And I like that too because I’m still amazed by how it all makes sense, even in today’s high-tech world.
Hazel Dixon-Cooper is the author of the internationally best-selling Rotten Day humorous astrology book series. Her latest book, Harness Astrology’s Bad Boy, is about Pluto, the planet of transformation. She can be reached through her website, www.hazeldixoncooper.com and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/hazel.dixoncooper.