Several characters in The Angel of Secrets consult astrological charts, and I set up birth charts for my fictitious characters in order to get deeper into their psyche.
The ancient art and science of astrology provokes contemptuous comments from leading intellectuals of our day. As it happens, none of these people seem to know anything about the subject, basing their scepticism on ignorance and hearsay, rather than experience and knowledge.
- Astrologers track the journeys of planets as they move around a celestial belt described as a ‘zodiac’, which is divided into equal twelve sections, each associated with a constellation, e.g. Aries, Taurus, Gemini, and so on. It is true that precession means the actual positions of stars in our time would not match how they were seen when astrology was developed in ancient times, nonetheless modern astrologers will tell you that it is the twelve portions of the sky, in relation to the vernal equinox, that provide us with formulas for divination – it is not the constellations that concern us.
- Astrologers also consider the relationship with the subject’s place of birth with the horizon at the time of birth and establish a series of twelve ‘houses’, which help to identify the areas of life that will be most important. For example, the 4th house is concerned with family, 7th house with partnerships and relationships, 10th house with career and public life, and so on.
- Most people know the zodiac sign for the placement of the Sun when they were born, but an astrologer will identify a complex pattern that will include the Moon, the planets and, sometimes, certain stars and asteroids.
- Modern astrologers do not claim the planetary ‘gods’ hold sway over human lives. Like Shakespeare, they would say the fault is “not in our stars but in ourselves…” In other words, we have the free will to choose according to our inner template of potential. The positions and relationships between the various astronomical bodies can be considered as a hand of cards, but it is up to us how we play them.
- Shakespeare also said: There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. A well considered astrological reading can identify the ‘tides’ and support individuals when they are making important life choices.
- Astrologers would agree with Carl Jung who said, “anything that happens in a moment of time has the quality of that moment in time”.
- Although recently translated ancient astrological texts do provide predictive techniques, which can be proven to be precise, most competent modern astrologers do not claim to predict ‘fate’. They observe the archetypal quality of the time when a person was born and compare that with the quality of the present, or future times.
- Astrology has not been abandoned in the face of scientific materialism, because it works. For example, the French statistician Michel Gauquelin(1928-1991) attempted to disprove astrology using in-depth birth data from French birth records, but found himself having to retract his scepticism in the face of evidence.
- Whatever ancient techniques are available to us nowadays, astrology is not about concrete predictions. As with weather forecasts, there are too many variables. However, astrology can successfully predict the archetypal ‘flavour’ of the time for our individual life, and it enables us to see how it will change in the future. Then we can adapt accordingly.