The Tragedy of Astrology

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Some of the astrological thoughts I’ve had over the past few days…

Sometimes we rush to look at the charts involved in tragedies. We look at what planet was rising when the hurricane hit, or we look at what was going on in the chart of the shooter, or what planet was on the midheaven over Las Vegas, or we look at what was happening in the chart of the country singer who was on stage when the shots rang out. We should ask ourselves where the impulse comes from before we do this. Maybe it’s a good impulse. Maybe we want to learn, to understand, to seek a ray of light and clarity…maybe! Or maybe not.

If I’m honest with myself, over the past few years, my own impulse to immediately look at the charts involved in these all too predictable events hasn’t been healthy, and so I’ve stopped.

In time I may look, but when the events happen, I don’t need the stars to tell me about what’s happened. This may sound strange, but these tragic events tell me more about the stars than the stars could possibly tell me about the events…if I have the courage to stop, and listen, and feel, and say yes to the darkness…if I dare to love it, dare to love the grief, dare to love the fear, dare to love the impersonal cliches that cover my public “walls,”…then finally my heart stops this fruitless searching. Because for me, astrology is always after the fact. The one and only fact, the enduring fact, which is God’s unfathomable, terrible, and completely penetrating love.

Astrology says nothing to me if it doesn’t say this first. Because for me there is no cause for anything in this world except for love. Love is the first and final cause. It is my beginning and end. It is the beginning and end of all things. And when I really know this, on those rare days where I somehow live a taste of this nectar, my life becomes a moving memorial. My life flames into a living memory.

All events are everything that astrology has always been trying show us. All events are God’s prior to being astrological and after they are astrological. This is what is meant by the idea that the planets play the songs of eternity. This is what is meant by the idea that the planets reflect the thoughts of God. This is what is meant by the idea that the planets are oracles, speaking a heavenly or divine language. The planets aren’t here to tell us what influenced what or what caused what, like a homemade police radio, built to let us overhear and spread the news…because there is only one influence and there is only one good news: l.o.v.e.

Would we throw a tarot card and assume that it was the card that caused the man to purchase innumerable bullets? Because the death card came up, we should find ourselves so astonished? Why? When we know the cause is fear, we know the cause is desire, the cause is competition, greed, and envy. Why are we so astonished when the Justice card appears, or the judgment card, when we know very well the final justice and the final judgment, inherent in all things, at all times, is love?

I don’t mean to chastise anyone or act like I’ve arrived anywhere. I believe there are kind, smart, and sensitive astrologers or students of astrology who examine these tragic charts. I also believe that divination is worthy of our time in moments like these and so I don’t mean to reduce or minimize its significane. Tonight, I only intend to speak for myself. My impulse to immediately contextualize these awful events in the language of astrology I now recognize to be an act of putting the cart before the horse. It is always life itself that testifies to the reality of heaven, not the heavens that confirm for us that, yes, this too is holy, or yes this too is “real.”

It turns out we can’t escape reality. We can’t escape heaven. There’s no confirming it because it is the only and every confirmation.

So in the beginning, we look for astrology to confirm our faith, to set it back in place, to explain, to hold up, to give us confidence in the order of things, especially when bad things happen to us. But then, eventually, when we stop “doing astrology,” and allow astrology to do us, to animate our hearts and minds, we start seeing the holy stars everywhere, and they don’t speak to us of Saturn’s influence or Jupiter’s noble intentions, they stop talking of influence and who did what for why, and they start singing, and all they sing is the song of loving, multivalent, multidimensional, overflowing devotion.

Devotion means letting life live us, saying yes to all of it, and offering whatever consciousness we can muster to confirm in brave return that which is always confirming us.

We say in astrology that transits “perfect,” but what we mean is that perfection is a moving transit.

Prayer: peace in my heart, peace in the heavens, peace on earth.

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