Astrology and Freedom

June 27, 2009

Nearly everyone, including experienced astrologers, talks about the planets causing us to do this or that in our lives.

Or people say, often with great glee, “such and such is happening because of my astrology.”

The Sanskrit word for planet is “Graha,” or “Grabber.” The planets are said to seize humans with their powerful influences.

The fact is, we are not seized by planets and stars. We are seized by the results of our own habitual, limited actions.

The planets and stars are not making us do anything; they are communicating to us about the lifetimes of activities that have made us what we are today.

You are born at a certain time and place that corresponds to a precise cosmic communication. The configuration of the planets and stars at the time of our birth is The Book of You.

This book can be read by you in the form of a picture of the sky that we call an astrology chart.

Your astrology chart tells you about your prarabdha karma. Prarabdha is that portion of our karma that is ready to come to fruition in this lifetime as a result of past actions.

The stars and planets are a communication about activities in time and their results. They are timekeepers. As long as we are not yet Self-realized, we are stuck in time. We have a relationship to astrology, to the relative positions of the planets and stars, only because we are still subject to karma.

For this reason, it is very helpful to learn about your astrology. Astrology can deepen your understanding of yourself and alert you to important cycles in time. For instance, you can learn about periods that are especially good for you to do certain kinds of spiritual practices. You can learn about times that will be more obstructed for various kinds of activities.

When you encounter these cycles, the correct orientation is to understand that you have created them through your past activities and through your reactions to the activities of other people.

Some patterns are very hard to change indeed, but absolutely nothing in the world of time and karma is fixed.

And then there is also grace. Grace cannot be measured, predicted or accounted for by anyone’s chart.

One way of looking at spiritual practice is that it leads you to “step off” of your astrology chart. Self-realization means no longer creating new karma or being subject to karma — good or bad.

This “stepping off” happens piecemeal, not all at once. It is even possible to use your astrology chart to discover those moments when it might be easier for you to release the karmas written about in your chart.

Some people get so turned around in their view of astrology, they actually live to their charts. For example, if their chart seems to say that they will spend several years being obsessed by money and career before they settle down to spiritual practice, then they just go ahead and do that using the chart as justification.

But we always have the freedom to choose differently. Sometimes when we choose differently, our lives become harder because we are burning up that karma at greater speed. Freedom directly encounters the resistance of the karmic momentum that has been pushing us in one direction.

At other times, we make the effort to choose freedom and grace supports us to release karma more easily.

The most important freedom to exercise, however, is the freedom to do practice every day. Daily, sincere practice, slowly over time, erases the karma that is written about in the stars and planets.

Eventually, the sky becomes clear and open, and we can walk in the world without being seized by time.

In Ma’s love,