At the Center of it All
September 11, 2018
While cooking breakfast this morning I was listening to one of the people I most admire, John Taylor Gatto, giving a talk at the Conference on Spirituality here in Boulder CO at Naropa back in 1997. In it he shows how Galileo’s Heliocentric Theory is only partially correct - meant to be tongue in cheek and not propagating a flat earth, but logically illustrating how in actuality we are each the center of the universe and this is where our power lies.
He says: The truth is that both psychologically and spiritually you are the center of the solar system and universe. Don’t be modest or try to hide the fact. The minute you deny what I just said, you’re in full flight from the responsibility this personal centrality entails: to make things better for the rest of us who are on the periphery of your consciousness.
In the western model of the astrology which is a circle (some systems use a square or rectangle) we have the “Celestial Sphere” in an approximate 2D representation of what we see in the sky from the Earth’s point of view. In a way, the Earth for us humans is the center of the Universe, but not really. It is as Gatto points out, more of a backdrop to our affairs, floating in and out of our consciousness. The chart is drawn from the point of the Earth where our life as a unique individual is born, so the relationship of our being to the whole is from the center of us. We are at the center of the chart and the chart in so many ways defines our reality.
Dane Rudhyar talks about the center of the birth chart, where the horizon and meridian intersect, apart from the houses, planets and all they represent about us, as being where the real “I” is found as a truly individualized consciousness. The mandala of the chart / personality dances and creates around this autonomous self that goes beyond the ego. Some say the ego is the Sun, others the Moon, but our ego is not a center. It shifts and sways with the outside forces. Center points are power vortexes, and as the center of our lives we regain the power of our lives.
I will use my chart to illustrate. The darker angle lines in a chart are the very important Ascendant / Descendant and MC / IC or horizon and meridian lines that Rudhyar refers to. The Ascendant point, the left end of the horizontal line, represents the East or sunrise. The Sun rises on this horizon in the sky to the highest point possible for that location where we have the Midheaven point, the top vertical line of the chart which is above us. The Sun in this two dimensional representation then continues through the day clockwise to sunset, the point at the end of the right horizontal line or West, and then to the bottom vertical line of the chart representing essentially midnight or below us. What is above the horizontal line is visible, what is below is not.
The astrology chart is actually built around the ecliptic plane or path of the Sun, which the planets also closely follow, with these four angles corresponding to the equinoxes (horizontal) and the solstices (vertical). It’s much more complex of course, but, long story short, you can see with my chart example that because I was born close to midnight at my birthplace, my Sun is down at the bottom of the chart - ie beneath me, interestingly almost exactly beneath me on the other side of the world.
Imagine yourself at the center of your chart and then float in that celestial sphere. I talk about the energy frequencies that surround us at the moment of our birth as being infused as one with our DNA. Perhaps that is the fate part of our existence. The debate of fate vs. free will is an old one and a big one in astrology, but I like to think that what we do with who we are in this moment of time in eternity is the free will part.
Free will truly allows so many options and stories to be told, variations on a theme that could go in so many directions. But perhaps only if we trust, respect and love ourselves. Our systems of schooling, religion and government all teach us that we can’t trust ourselves, and most people have self worth issues. We are certainly not empowered to take full responsibility for our lives. Life becomes bleak and hard instead of purposeful and magical.
A fun exercise: If you go to Stellarium Online you can put in your birth date, place and time, and see what was visible in the sky when you were born. Correspond that with what you see in your natal chart but feel how it is different. It may bring new awareness and perspective, or more depth to what you have already explored. Everything both above and below the horizon, visible or not, is equally valid and important. However, I have found profound meaning in contemplating what was visible. It’s a very personal meditation that has meaning only for you.
The only 3 planets visible in the sky when I was born were Saturn, the Moon and Pluto, which is not visible to us and so didn’t show up in this image from Stellarium of my birth chart sky. Saturn is near the top of the chart and here you see it higher up in the middle of the Southern Sky. The Moon on the right west side of the chart just about to set. In less than an hour it would be below the horizon and heading down under (along with Pluto).