A great failing of many is the perception of Astrology as something that tells us what we are and indicates events which happen to us: this use of Astrology, to my understanding, places us as passively existing in a universe of variety. With no active agency, and with many traumatic and difficult circumstances which do occur, we may have a valid point: many things take place in our lives which are outside our control.
However, succumbing to the assumption that we have no control over anything does not merely weaken our power of agency, but actively negates it: we have an alternative. Equally unrealistic is the position that we have the power of choice in situations where we do not such as dealing with a terminal illness or global pandemic: we do not have personal control over these circumstances.
Yet rather than viewing life as a series of situations that happen to us, we may view life as a series of situations that we interact with. Being made redundant is an extremely stressful and disturbing situation but if we only view this occurrence as something that happened to us, we may not respond to this situation at all and no resolution may come forth.
By viewing redundancy as something we encounter, one of many in our lives, we may develop a different series of responses with different insights. Through the process of identifying what agency we have in any given situation, we begin to recognise our agency comes from within ourselves: how may I respond to this situation? what possibilities are open to me now?
There is a certainty and a degree of comfort in abrogating agency and adopting passivity which I refer to as laziness. Assuming passivity seems to be a preferred state not just with socio-cultural norms but also by political, religious and economic forces. In any case, passivity results in the inability to perceive.
Claiming our agency does not equate with taking responsibility for other’s actions or decisions, nor does it require our duty to resolve or prevent problems occurring: an impossible task. Claiming our agency is viewing our lives in context through our own existence. And this is where Astrology provides an objective frame of reference.
Even with incorrect or missing birth data, we can compare the actual patterns and themes of our lives with the presented information and gain insight. Making a list of tendencies in our reactions and choices we gain insight. Viewing ourselves as the centre of agency through the myriad experiences of our lives we observe ourselves and gain self-awareness.
With the natal, transit and progressed charts we can triangulate experiences and we can potentially derive meaning: however, meaning can only be derived where there is a sense of agency. At this point I would like to clarify what ‘agency’ means.
At present, many define ‘agency’ with having a sense of control. I do not. There is no sense of control to be had with a tragic accident or with a lotto win: I equate having agency with how we perceive our lives as a whole; I equate agency with how we derive meaning from existence; I equate agency with self-awareness. Therefore, agency is removing ourselves from being passive.
We extend our perspective from that of a passive, singular recipient of situations to that of a series of interactions with situations throughout our lives where we recognise our contributions and what we mean to ourselves.
Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala, Vintage Books 1974.
Plato, Allegory of the Cave.
Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle, Bread and Circuses Publishing 1967.