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So what is the birth chart exactly?
Regarding terminology, “birth horoscope” equals “birth chart” equals “natal horoscope” – same same. Every new venture, being, country, project, etc has one – if there is a moment of “birthing,” whether it is an idea, a business, a person or animal, then there is a way to track the heavens at the time of that “birth.” Every four minutes the solar system changes such that it will not be the exact same again for another 26,000 years – hence our birth horoscope is truly unique and individual (at least for the next 26K years). Yes, there may be a few people born in the same hospital at the same time as us, but due to varying karmas, this does not mean they will live the same life (and it would need to be a large city for this to occur realistically). For the most part however, varying latitudes and longitudes, at different birth places, make people born on the same day possess differing natal astrology charts.
So what does the complicated mandala of planets, houses and aspects mean? What is its deeper meaning? What are the deeper rhythms represented by our snapshot of the heavens? In addition to what is traditionally known about the birth chart, I’d like to add the following: it is 1) a reflection of the polarities describing the world in which we live and how we interact with and within these polar forces; 2) for most of us, the birth chart is also a reflection of our egos – we have some stuff to work on when it comes to our habitual behavior and belief structures; finally and tying in with the first two, 3) the birth chart is a description of our grosser karmas. And yes, I will explain.
In this samsaric world in which we find our selves (samsaric coming from the Buddhist concept of samsara – living in this world leads to perpetual dissatisfaction), there are extremes and opposites. For instance, being calm and peaceful is opposite of being restless and aggressive, right? There are hundreds of these polar opposites (black / white; generous / greedy; anger / joy; rich / poor) – hence we also have the polar opposites of male (yang, action, skillful means) and female (yin, reception, wisdom). This concept is also known as duality – there is self and other according to our perception and this leads to mine vs. yours, etc. So the birth chart shows our proclivities toward certain spectrums of these polarities. Someone born with a stellium (three or more planets) in Aries for example would probably tend toward the direct, less-complex, competitive, pioneering (fearless) traits in that area of the chart. This might be opposite or intensely different from someone having a stellium in Libra, or Cancer, or Pisces in that same area of the chart.
I mention that the chart is a dynamic, shifting reflection of our egos because of several items I mentioned above. When we have the mistaken view that there is self and other, then we end up thinking this object is mine, that object is yours. These situations arise: “Oh – now I want your object, it is more satisfying than mine, I’m sure of it!” Then you know where this leads – to conflicts and afflicted emotions (anger, attachment, jealousy, pride, etc). However, we can avert these situations when we start to give our lower selves away, through service and authentic generosity, then as we peel away the layers of our complex ego, the birth chart holds less and less power or sway over us.
Finally, I mention that the birth chart has to do with our gross karmas. I say “gross” meaning less subtle because A) I don’t know much about subtle karmas and B) what little I do know, is that subtle karmas are really only dealt with in dedicated meditation practice and / or retreats. Therefore I doubt most of us have to worry about purifying our subtle karmas for a while. (If you are in a meditation retreat and you are reading this blog, I’d be very surprised). So we each have a subtle consciousness which we “carry” with us from lifetime to lifetime. This subtle consciousness holds within its mind-stream our habits and behavioral tendencies. I might even go so far as to mention that it contains within it the major purification we need (or chose) to do in this present incarnation. Hence we can see when varying flavors of these gross karmas will manifest in the chart.
I want to clarify however that due to our having freedom of choice (choice centered astrology) and also due to the fact that we all have varying capacities and aptitudes, we are at differing frequencies (frequency-based astrology), we cannot make exact predictions about the future. So we must make calculated predictions and once we gain some experience (years) under our belts, we can see how trying aspects previously manifested and get a clue to how they might crop up again in the future. Again, to clarify, I do not practice fortune telling and I do not recommend any astrologer who practices fatalistic interpretation.
In conclusion, the natal horoscope is a beautiful reflection of many things – it is amazing how many levels and layers you can read into a piece of paper with lines, planetary glyphs and house delineations (a birth horoscope). Seriously, there are some people who specialize in doing relationship astrology, others who focus on medical astrology (like me), and yet others who look at location astrology (known as Astro-Cartography) and there is much more to glean from one’s chart. This post is just an introduction to varying possibilities – the birth chart reveals our habitual tendencies toward certain polar extremes, it can indicate where we are in our ego development and the birth chart can reveal the timing of gross karmas – when will events unfold? Who will we be with at that time? How will we feel about it? Many possibilities are indicated and reflected in the heavens – as above, so below. I urge you to get your chart interpreted by a qualified astrologer if you have not done so yet.