WHAT IS THE BIRTH CHART
What is the birth chart and how can it be used for further personal and spiritual development?
The 'birth chart' is the most used chart of our modern times, due to it being the most secure point we are able to safely determine. Many other points, such as Conception, Pre Natal Epoch and Constellation of Cosmic thought, can be used however these are generally not known exactly. The birth chart is what we generally have available and is a significant point in our evolution process. It is the point in time where we take on our 'independant' life at the first breath. The most interest aspect of this chart is that while it is widely accepted as being significant and THE chart to use it has almost no astronomical reality at all. So what is this birth chart our culture has so strongly embraced.
In our present culture we accept the Geocentric Tropical (sign) birth or natal chart of the planets positions is the one to use. Mostly because this is the one we have inherited from antiquity. Even Astrologers rarely question what it actually is.
To examine any question of Astrology and the application or meaning of any particular method of Astrology I use the basic assumption that
The Astrological application or use of any method is
described by its relationship to the Astronomical reality.
So there are several issues to investigate here. The first question is what is the Astronomical reality of the natal chart? Then where in time and space does the natal chart stand ?
I will answer some of the first question, then look more closely at the second question before returning in more depth to the first.
The birth chart used commonly in western cultures as THE birth chart is a chart of where the planets are placed in the signs of the zodiac, as seen from a specific point on the Earth, for the moment of birth. We will look into this statement in more depth but first we can look at the moment of this birth.
The birth moment
Most philosophic traditions suggest that while the physical body is born and dies, the spirit is eternal. At death it moves from the discarded body, before moving through a period in the after life phase which often leads eventually to a journey back to Earth to take on another body in some future time. This is called reincarnation.
Reincarnation as a conscious reality became part of my world view when I became involved with Hinduism in the early 1970s. As an Astrologer I easily incorporated this concept into my understanding. I would like to suggest though, that the study of Astrology naturally brings one to an appreciation that reincarnation is indeed a reality. How else can one explain the strange and varied personalities and 'fates' one is presented with. Is it all just good or bad luck or is the individual got some responsibility in who they are and how their life plays out before them.
Reincarnation states - this present life is the end product of all the previous you we have lived. Your birth chart is an image of where you - your Ego and Astral body - got to last life and how this soul state has been reformed for your present incarnation, according to any past karmas.
Karma is the results of your actions. Life is a continuum much like a stream of water. Left to itself a pool of water becomes still and even stagnant. Water obtains its form and qualities from outside stimuli. The fall of the land produces motion and force, the structure of the river bed creates obstacles which create the inner movements swirls, infoldings, pools, rapids, waterfalls and undercurrents. Likewise life and the experiences we have along the way, create the swirls and undercurrents of our soul or Astral body, which remains with the spirit as it ends its relationship with our physical body at death.
The Ego/spirit is often the creator of an action. This action creates a response from outside us, which in turn creates a response within us. This whole physical, emotional, psychological experience becomes formed into our soul or Astral body. Ultimately this moves into our Etheric bodies as deep and possibly unconscious memory.
When we are encountered by what we perceive to be a similar experience, we draw on these old memories. We put that up on the screen of our Egos eye and run it all over again. This colours the present experience to some degree. Through this new experience we either just back up our previous experience and neurosis, or see it was not so bad afterall, and adjust our perception a little bit. If we are lucky. There are naturally many variations on this basic theme.
Our present birth chart offers an image of where our four body system has evolved to as a result of all our previous incarnations. By acknowledging humans have been manifesting on Earth for some few million years it is no wonder some of our 'stuff' is very embedded and a little difficult to even see, let alone have some objectivity with.
A significant influence on this present life on Earth, is the process we go through from the end of our last life through till, the beginning of this. This is the journey after Death, out to the Guardian of the Threshold, where certain decisions are made before a subsequent journey back to Earth and our present birth.
The Death Chart
The moment of death is as significant in the long term as the moment of Birth. This death chart indicates where you have developed too during this previous life. By comparing the birth and death chart one can discover the degree of soul development which has occurred during the previous life. This chart is therefore the basis upon which the next life is built.
Work by Astrosophers, notably Wachsmuth & R. Powell, on the Karma lectures by RS has led to the development of indicators for the establishment of who you were last time. This is OK if you were one of the heroes of Humanity where your death time would at least be recorded. For us lesser beings there is very little show of ever finding ones previous death. In the case of close family ties this maybe possible. Other than this situation, these techniques are wonderful scholarly tit bits but possibly little else in every life. The speculation and possible delusion arising from this methods could have a far worst impact on free will in this life than the expressed fears of using predictive techniques on ones present situation.
At Death, about three days after you have left your physical body, your Etheric body disconnects from your Astral \ Ego organisation. The etheric forces maintaining your etheric body release and merge back into the world etheric forces centred in the atmosphere of the Earth. Ultimately though you are the Ego or spirit. As such you are eternal and never cease to exist. At death though you the spirit, are still clothed by your emotional and psychological reality held in your Astral body.
RS pointed out that after death and the etherics separation the Astral\ Ego combination start their journey away from the Earth towards the spirit lands found beyond Saturn in the Galaxy sphere. The planetary spheres are the home of the World Astral and its associated beings. As you past through the various planetary spheres your relive and become conscious of that part of your Astral body governed by a particular planetary sphere. This astral releasing phase is said to last for approximately as long as you slept in your last life. As we move through a particular sphere the spiritual beings of that sphere help us to digest and come to terms with the relationships and karma we have developed through our last life.
According to Dr Elizabeth Vreede (24) at the Moon we have arrived at the "soul land"
" So does man set himself free from the physical and then also from the etheric and there follows the entry into the elementary world, into the Moon's sphere. It is that sphere that has the Moon's orbit as its outermost borders. The soul gradually expands to the extent of this entire sphere. It comprehends all that lies within the circle described by the Moon. It has now arrived in tile "Soul land," \which in its lower regions is identical with the Moon-sphere (Cf. Cycle 3; lecture 10) And there forthwith it moulds the action of its karma from the earth life which has just expired. In the ether-world of the Moon-sphere everything is engraved as actual records in the Akashic Chronicle that we have carried out on earth without completion. All that a man has undertaken to do, but has not carried out or in thns carry!ng out he has come to a standstill, or what he ought especially to have done by way self development but has omitted, - all this engraves itself in the Moon-sphere in the life after death."
In the mercury sphere one experiences "what they have become as a moral being or that which was unmoral. Here that which passes from man to man but has not arrived at the right accomplishment - unfulfilled promises and the like"
In the Venus sphere is experienced "all that unites man on Earth in groups which have a spiritual link as in religious communities. He who has lived life as an atheist up to his death will live in this sphere in utter solitude.
At the Sun " Man lives there in the heart of the solar system, himself become heart, and there his relationship........ to the entire human race is what pronounces judgement. And first and foremost judgement is pronounced by the relation that he himself had gained on earth to the representative of humanity, the Christ, and to Lucifer that spirit who has encroached so powerfully upon the evolution of humankind.",
With Mars and Jupiter, Dr Vreede says very little and I have not found a direct RS reference either. I can only speculate that in the Mars sphere we will meet the results of the innovative and selfish actions we have bought to the Earth. While at Jupiter we can expect to experience the results of our actions in our greater community.
Dr Vreede does say that at Saturn "what one has developed as spiritual concepts which in our next life is transformed into definite spiritual faculties in our next life".
Once you make it to the edge of the Saturn sphere we are met by the First Guardian of the Threshold. In Astrology this is known as the planetoid Chiron. Chiron's path takes it inside Saturn orbit and outside Uranus' orbit. So it moves inside Saturn for part of its cycle and outside Uranus during another part. Chiron is indeed the doorman ferrying souls from the Astral sphere into the collective unconscious sphere which begins at Uranus.
Anthroposophy suggests Christian Rosenkrutz has become this Guardian. So he lives on or around Chiron and its sphere.
The task of the Guardian is to reflect to you all you could have been and to ask if you really feel finished with life on Earth and whether there is still anything you wish to complete. After your very awakening journey through the Astral spheres there may well be some things left to do. If you feel O.K. then you can continue through Chiron into Uranus and on towards the spirit lands. If there is still things to do, be they further karma resolution or pure gifts to humanity, you decide what it is, who to do it with and what events are necessary in your next life to bring about resolution. This is where you are making choices regarding your future destiny. So when you live your next life you are just living out already made decisions from this time with Chiron \ Christian Rosenkrutz.
Once you have decided your plan of attack you begin moving back down through the Astral spheres rekindling your Astral body. This is done in accordance with the beings of those spheres. It is suggested the positions of the planets in your birth chart are an image of your journey through each of these spheres. From Saturn to the Moon you are rekindling your Astral body.
From the moon sphere on and especially once you enter the Atmosphere you enter into the Etheric sphere of the Earth and here you begin to build up your Etheric body.
At conception or shortly afterwards this Etheric body connects with the physical and the new life begins.
Along the way several charts can be drawn up. Willie Sucher is the main developer of these charts in modern times however their origin is from antiquity.
The first two are based on a formula relating to the moons node, the moon and the ascendant of the birth chart. Information regarding this in the R.Powells book Hermetic Astrology or Willie Suchers writings.
The constellation of cosmic thought chart, is said to indicate the point where the individuality crosses over from the Sun sphere into the Moon sphere. This is said to indicate the spirits purpose in the coming life.
The Pre Natal Epoch chart is where the individuality crosses over from the Moon sphere into the Earth sphere. This takes place around conception. I would expect this chart to indicate the state of the Etheric body.
With both of these charts there is still some speculation as to which charts to use as various options arise out of the formula. Pre Natal Epoch is in use in Astrological circles other than Astrophers and finds its basis in Greek writings.
Another chart is the conception chart if you can determine the time. This would have a similar relevance to the Pre Natal Epoch chart.
Other methods used from the pre birth period include, plotting the movement of the moon and the planetary aspects through the gestation period and relating one moon cycle for each 7 years of life. Sucher examined the formation of the body in relation to these pre birth planetary configurations and showed remarkable correlation's between them and physical and mental deformities.
The Natal chart
is when a chart of the planets placement in the SIGNS of the Zodiac, as seen on EARTH from the locality of birth, is drawn up for the moment the first breath is taken.
This chart can also have the constellations as the background. This one is what is used in India and by Anthroposophists.
The natal chart is not the only chart used by Astrologers. From the many charts, games and techniques Astrologers can use it becomes apparent that each technique shines one beam of light upon the observed object. The more techniques used the more complex or detailed the object becomes. Any one technique shines a specific beam of light in a specific direction.
The way we can determine what any Astrological technique is for is indicated by examining its Astronomical reality. Indeed its Astronomical reality indicates the boundary of a techniques 'predictive' area.
The Astronomical realities we are presented with in the Natal chart are:
- it is Earth based (Geocentric) as opposed to Sun centred (Heliocentric).
- it uses the Signs of the Zodiac instead of the Constellations.
- it uses an Aries to Pisces anti-clockwise zodiac instead of the Cancer through to Leo clockwise zodiac indicated in the Astrological Theorem
- it uses a 'house' system based on the horizon of the Earth at birth.
Generally we just take all of the above for granted without a real appreciation of the difference between the opposites outlined above however an investigation of the astronomical reality of the above provides an interesting picture of what the natal chart is actually telling us..
Geocentric \ Heliocentric Birth charts
The standard accepted birth chart is drawn up so we see the planets positions from the Earth. This is called the Geocentric chart meaning Earth centred.
The Earth is the sphere of physical life as well as where we exist.
The rest of this chart is based on the Solar system, albeit a particular view of the Solar system. The Solar system as seen from Earth. From here the Sun is placed as another planet circling around the Earth as the centre. This of course is not the Astronomical reality. Really the Sun is the centre and the Earth is moving around it. So we are dealing with an apparent and certainly a subjective reality when using a Geocentric system. We are personalising the Solar system to our reality. We become the centre of our own lives.
Hence the Earth, the plane of Physical life becomes the centre of focus for this chart.
What is the Solar system? It is a collection of planets which live within the electro-magnetic sphere of a Sun. This Sun in turn is one of millions of Suns which cluster together within the Galaxy. From our earlier discussions it became apparent the Suns are spheres of Spirit and the planetary sphere around our Sun are their Astral sphere.
Just as the Spirits interplay with the Physical\Etheric organism leads to the creation of our Astral bodies, so the life of the Sun leads to the creation of the planets, its Astral body.
In the Geocentric chart we place the Sun as part of the planetary sphere. In doing so we show how: The spirit is embedded in the Astral body or alternatively how the spirit may be possessed by the Astral body.
We can conclude therefore that this chart is the picture of the physical life on Earth of the Spirit controlled by the Astral body.
Earlier in the sections on reincarnation and karma it was outlined how the spirit moved from Earth through the planets and then back to Earth. During this time the spirit became aware of its karmic load and on the journey back to Earth, through the planets, we created this Astral environment so we can live out and address these karmas further.
In the Geocentric chart we have indicated how these Astral karmas work into our life on Earth. The Earth life or our body is the dominate feature, with the Spirit in subordination to the Planets. So in this chart the spirit is subservient to the Astral bodies karmas and how they play onto and effect the physical body ( from outside ). In short this is the Astral fate of our lives. With the Sun - the source of our consciousness - so immersed in this activity that it is generally unaware of its potential controlling and freedom making possibility.
A chart for this same moment can also be drawn up for how the planets where placed as seen from the Sun. This called the Heliocentric chart. This places the Sun at the centre of the chart and separate from the planets. The Earth is placed in this chart as well, always opposite to the place it is in the Geocentric chart. This chart is the Astronomical reality we live in.
With the Sun as the focus, a step towards the essential essence (spirit) of a situation or person is taken. The Sun here is in its natural position as the central focus of the planets. In turn this indicates a chart telling us how the the Spirit can be the focus of the Astral body.
The planets are still active in the heliocentric chart and there are also positive and negative relationships between them. This suggest the Astral body still has some influence onto the Spirit however potentially in a much more subservient manner than in the geocentric chart. In a sense we could say the planets relationships in the Heliocentric chart indicates the way in which the Astral body has engraved its experiences into the spirit of an individual.
With the Helio chart we can use the image of a Board of Directors. The Sun is the chairman of the board and the planets are the heads of department. In the Helio chart the Chairman is in his rightful place at the head of the table and in charge of the meeting. In the Geocentric chart, the strongest most vocal head of department is often in charge while in many cases the Chairman (Sun) does not even know it is meant to be in charge.
The Heliocentric chart shows us how the Astral body works with the Spirit in control. It outlines the spirits purpose or way of acting into this incarnation. It is the way the spirit uses the Astral body forces available to it while in our Solar System and manifest on Earth. Here the Spirit works from within and the impulses from this chart show what the spirit wants to bring to life.
As an individual gains conscious awareness of the Astral body (Geocentric chart) and becomes centred in the Ego\Spirit ( Sun )- "spiritually developed" - they move towards their Heliocentric birth chart rather than continuing to be controlled by their Geocentric chart.
As a polarity the Heliocentric chart indicates what the Spirit has to bring to life from within outwards, while the Geocentric chart indicates the outer karmic environment this activity must be performed within. Life becomes a picture of the interplay between these two forces. What we bring as a new gift to life and what we must tidy up from the past.
Themes that show up in both these charts are obviously issues which need special attention.
Indeed common themes which run through the Constellation of Cosmic thought, Pre Natal Epoch, Conception chart and the birth charts would certainly indicate something worth living into through contemplation.