The most popular conceptions of Astrology are that it is a system of prediction. Daily horoscopes and prognostications point toward to the future when, in fact, much of astrological practice is rooted in the past. I don't mean the historical past when astrologers tracked the planets and measured the seasons to make agriculture possible. I'm talking about the personal past, the moment of birth for which astrologers calculate natal charts that are maps of personality and the foundation for individual forecasts. While the planets are constantly on the move, the natal chart does not change. It is personal and permanent, the cosmic DNA, an astronomical fingerprint to describe a person's character and life cycles.
The power of the natal chart comes from the richness of information that we can derive from it. A good astrologer finds deep meaning about a person's motivations, desires, fears, limits, and purpose. Yet accurate interpretations can have the negative effect of reinforcing the impact of early life experiences in ways that inhibit growth. Of course, these inherently restrictive ideas about us are also common among people who know nothing about Astrology. Many of us attribute current limitations to past problems, which is how much of psychological counseling works. The idea is that when we uncover the root cause of an issue like fear of intimacy, for example, that we can free ourselves from its negative impact. This does work with the help of a skilled counselor and a commitment to change, but all too often explanations become excuses instead of cures.
Going with the flow
The way that birth charts describe the past can become another excuse for resisting change. It's the very accuracy of astrological analyses that all too frequently reinforce the very limitations that we want to overcome. When cosmic influences correspond with negative experiences it can be even more difficult to let them go. Instead of just having an indifferent father or overbearing mother, we have planetary evidence to back up these stories and, perhaps, to interpret them as inescapable fate.
A more productive and positive approach is to recognize that the past is one influence in our lives but not the central one. While we may be wounded by bad memories or the planets' positions at birth, we all live and breathe in the present. It's what we choose from this pivotal position that shapes our experiences. Sure, we've all suffered in some ways, but how we use that pain will determine whether we carry it into the future or learn its lessons and move on. Remember the sage advice of Tom Robbins who wrote, "It's never too late to have a happy childhood."