To learn the language of astrology (so that you may draw up charts), you must also consider a philosophical side. For example, are the specifics of our birth — date, time, and place — as random as they appear to be? If so, are the tendencies of our birth charts merely coincidental? Are they simply the product of a physical act that produces a child nine months later? Not according to astrological philosophy.
Though some suspect our universe to be completely random, most people have an intuitive sense of pattern and connectedness. Shrugging our shoulders and deciding that all the coincidences we encounter are purely accidental is easy to do, but delving deeper often generates other philosophies.
Over the years, as people have explored the concepts of astrology and other facets of metaphysics, they have come to regard the birth chart as a blueprint of the soul's intent. If you view life as an opportunity to achieve those intentions, astrology begins to make more sense. Students of astrology discovered that certain aspects (geometrical angles formed between planets) in our birth charts coincide with certain tensions and stresses in our lives. Additionally, it was determined that some of these aspects also matched areas of ease and pleasure in our experiences.
From this point on, any time you do a birth chart, you need to interpret the chart as an organic whole — a living pattern of whom the individual is and what he or she could become. A birth chart should become a kind of hologram encoded with information that could be used for self-awareness. It doesn't matter whether you or anyone else is the product of a random sexual union; you need to recognize the practical value of astrology. The question of whom or what sets the whole thing in motion will matter less than the fact that you'll have found a tool for discovery that works for you.
Think of a horoscope as a hologram — a symbolic projection from a level of reality vastly different from our own. A hologram is composed of interconnected parts that we have to understand before we can grasp the meaning of the whole. In our attempt to understand, we interact with the hologram by bringing our own intuitive perceptions to the overall pattern.
Bear in mind the idea of a birth chart as a hologram as you read through the descriptions of planets in the houses in future chapters. To correctly interpret a chart, though, you must consider the other elements, as well as the aspects. Aspects can dramatically alter the meanings of planets in the houses. The concept of aspects will be discussed later in this chapter.
Eventually, as you learn from this book and begin trusting your intuition, you'll come to realize that we really are masters of our own destiny. We choose it all; before birth our souls select the circumstances into which we are born. They pick the optimal astrological conditions that will allow us the opportunity to develop and evolve spiritually. These conditions are outward expressions of internal needs and help create the reality we experience. Within these patterns, our free will reigns supreme.
Don't discount free will! Nothing in this life is set in stone — you only have to reach out and make your destiny happen. Remember that astrology deals with patterns and gateways — opportunities we're given at birth that make it either easier or harder for us to achieve what we want. But no matter what the obstacles, we'll succeed if we go for it!
The concept of astrology and free will working together seem deceptively easy to grasp at first. But as you work with both, peeling back the layers, you realize that everything that happens to you — from the grand to the mundane — is the result of a belief that you hold. And if it's simply your belief, you can change it. When you change a core belief, your experience also changes. This is what empowers you.