An astrological remedy to life’s ills

Astrology as a Therapeutic Art is the latest offering from Greg Bogart on a mission to prove how valuable a tool astrology can be in solving life and relationship problems in therapy and counselling.

  Lucidly written it has helpful explanations of psychological terms as well as astrological explorations of printed charts.  There are a stream of vignettes explaining the problems thrown up by charts and how the astrologer/therapist and client was able to resolve them. Being a fan of agony aunt columns I found them fascinating though their brevity gave a slightly misleading sense of the ease with which solutions were reached.

 Two points struck me. He refers to derivative houses which was a method first used by the old Greek astrologers. For example taking the 7th house as referring to a spouse of partner. The 10th house is the 4th house from the 7th and therefore refers to the spouse or partner’s family.  The 12th house is the 6th house from the 7th representing partner’s health and workplace. It takes a while to get used to but might have its uses.

  The other is a general ambivalence. When I first started in this field, I saw astrological clients for therapy and the problem as I found it was they tended to regard me as the Delphic Oracle who had all the answers and in some instances as Merlin who could magic up a solution. So it created an imbalance which was not helpful.  I became the all-knowing one and they were the passive listener. Traditional psychotherapy on the other hand sees the process as a journey of unknowing, helping the client to reach out for their own answers.

   Having said that, classical psychoanalysis has its limitations, being lengthy and expensive and not always producing results. Which is why Tony Ryle set up his CAT (Cognitive Analytic Therapy) programme for time-limited therapy of sixteen sessions with a more pro-active approach from the therapist.

  In my experience astrology can be enormously helpful as a catalyst especially for those who are in therapy elsewhere and may be stuck. It can deliver a considerable (almost electrical) jolt of enlightenment which helps the process along.  

  Liz Greene describes the birth chart as a map which is different from walking the road. I’m just not entirely convinced that astrology will be the magic cure which solves all problems.  

  But for all that the book is well worth reading for its clear descriptions of difficult chart aspects and how to approach them.

24 thoughts on “An astrological remedy to life’s ills

  1. I can’t recall why I decided to google the Sabian Symbol for my North Node but anyway I came upon James Burgess’ website. Absolutely fascinating. Much better than anything I have read before. I think I finally understand it and I actually see what he describes.

    He explains very well the energy of the degree, what it is guiding you to do/ your assignment/mission. Gotta get that book, ‘Sabian Mysteries’ but the website’s pretty good as a starter for ten. Anyone know it or him? What are your thoughts?

  2. I read something today that struck a chord. And made sense, if I got the right conclusion. For example, if the ruler of the 2nd house is in the 8th house, which is 2nd from the 6th (money from daily job), then that should be fortuitous for income from work.

    I wonder what kind of conclusion I might draw from, say, ruler of the 8th house (money of other people, inherticanes etc.) in the 10th (career, social standing).

    There are probably so many great resources about astrology out there – if only there were so much time to get through them all! E.g. financial and career aspects in a chart.

  3. Here is the Amazon summary of Onfray’s Crépuscule d’ un idole:

    Le freudisme et la psychanalyse reposent sur une affabulation de haute volee appuyee sur une serie de legendes. Freud etait un scientifique, il a elabore sa theorie a partir de sa pratique clinique, il a gueri des patients, il a libere la sexualite. A toutes ces affirmations, et a bien d autres, Michel Onfray repond: – faux – ! Chamane viennois, guerisseur extremement couteux et sorcier post-moderne, Freud recourt a une pensee magique dans laquelle son verbe fait la loi. Ce livre se propose de penser la psychanalyse de la meme facon que le Traite d’atheologie a considere les trois monotheismes: comme autant d’occasions d’hallucinations collectives. Voila pourquoi il est dedie a Diogene de Sinope…”D une plume denuee de vitriol et plus taquine que dans son precedent requisitoire, Onfray se livre a ce qu il nomme une – psychobiographie – de Sigmund Freud. Le resultat est passionnant.” Francois Busnel, L Express.”

    Or in English, via DeepL:

    Freudism and psychoanalysis are based on a high-flown fabrication founded on a series of legends. Freud was a scientist, he developed his theory from his clinical practice, he cured patients, he liberated sexuality. Michel Onfray responds to all these assertions and many others: – FALSE ! A Viennese shaman, an extremely expensive healer and a post-modern sorcerer, Freud had recourse to a magical way of thinking in which his words were the law. This book sets out to think about psychoanalysis in the same way as the Traite d’atheologie considered the three monotheisms: as occasions for collective hallucinations. This is why it is dedicated to Diogenes of Sinope… “With a pen denuded of vitriol and more teasing than in his previous requisitory, Onfray engages in what he calls a – psychobiography – of Sigmund Freud. The result is fascinating. Francois Busnel, L’Express.”

    If I recall, there was huge headwind against Onfray in France, a hugely psychoanalytical country, when the book was published. And I kind of remember he later retreeated from his views? I should look that up.

  4. When training with the Faculty of Astrological Studies for their Diploma, we students had to work with our natal charts with qualified and experienced counsellors to gain insights into our own predisposition of character weaknesses as shown by certain astrological configurations. This proved to be enormously useful when later, working with our own clients, as was awareness of the timing of the consultation chart and how it interacted with our own charts. This was really helpful to assist in avoiding projection of our own issues onto the client.

  5. Derivative houses are still commonly used in Horary astrology. Horary preserves numerous techniques that fell out of use during the near annihilation of western astrology in the 18th century. I find it interesting largely for that reason, rather than any need to answer questions with astrology.

  6. From the opposite direction, astrology can be a very useful tool for a psychotherapist. I went to an astrologer who had been a therapist for years before learning astrology and it was enormously helpful because we could zero right in on problem areas and use the insights and language of astrology to think of ways to address them. I was already well versed in astrology so we could speak the language together, but I think even with clients without knowledge of astrology it must be very helpful to a therapist to more quickly identify where people get stuck and discuss ways to use the aspects more positively.

    • I also found it incredibly helpful to have and astrologer/psychotherapist to cold straight out zone in on what was happening. I only began learning astrology at that point but it went and goes on and on for ever by reading. Wonderful when cash is scarce as our public library has ao many astrology books available to borrow for free. I was already familiar with several psychotherapy approaches but none was able to pinpoint exactly the current problems in the way that astrology can.

  7. @marjorie orr greatly appreciate your insight and depth of knowledge of astrology, thank you for your articles on current events and important figures. You are right about people being unable to see themselves objectively. In fact most astrologers know that people who seek them out for advice are vulnerable, to make them feel less hopeful is not the best approach. Any advice whether taken in or not should not become a negative voice in the head, people do get influenced by the information they receive.

  8. There were discussions years ago about whether psychology training would be a good idea for astrologers doing consultations in order to not to cause damage to vulnerable clients.
    All aspects are on a spectrum and have a negative and a positive way of working. Mars Pluto can be ruthless, courageous/good in crisis or overly submissive/fearful and tending to attract anger/betrayal and hostile reactions from others. Often it requires a sensitive discussion with the client to elicit which traits they recognize and which they are unconscious of. And how they can use the challenging aspects to best advantage.
    Sun Saturn can be sensible, practical, disciplined or in early adult life bring feelings of unworthiness.
    But what has to be kept in mind – clumsy or biased astrologers notwithstanding – is that clients can be resistant to exploring what the chart says and get highly defensive if their bubble of unreality is threatened. They ask the questions but don’t want to know the answers.
    It is a delicate balancing act often.

    • I was told by the first astrologer I ever met that I would be dead by the age of 35 (I was about 32 at the time) from cancer if I didn’t leave my husband. As I’m now 70 I think I can safely say I got past that one but living under the cosh like that until I was past that age was pretty scary. I did eventually leave my husband but absolutely nothing the guy predicted for me happened, fortunately. Met this astrologer on holiday quite by chance and he said he only told me that because he knew he’d never see me again and wanted to warn me, otherwise he wouldn’t have said anything. If I ever see him again I will certainly give him a piece of my mind. I would certainly say from that experience that some sort of self awareness and knowledge is important for would be astrologers and advisers. To this day I’m still furious about it.

      • That is grossly unprofessional. Death is not a subject that should ever be covered, by astrologers or by psychics. Splitting relationships is also a subject to be approached cautiously. All relationships go through rough patches and some survive, others don’t. I have known people stick out relationships for a lifetime that astrologically look unhealthy but it may be the best they can do. So it always has to be left as a matter of choice. I am not a great believer in using astrology as a decision maker. It can feed in a whole range of useful information leading to a decision. But my experience is if you lean on astrology too heavily it will walk away from you and not be helpful.

        • Well that experience taught me not to lean on astrology for sure 🙂 I met him by chance and had always wanted to have my chart done, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. He scared me so silly that it was years before I told anyone. However I decided to go back to source to repair the damage he did, and in that way met other astrologers/counsellors who really helped me. I’m going back a long time, to 1980 or thereabout so I’m sure things have changed since then. I did eventually split with my ex but that wasn’t due to anything the astrologer said. It took years to get out and I thought at first it might be because I was bored and had married too young, so I studied for a psychology degree, and had all kinds of experts on hand to ask advice as well as women I knew who were divorced etc. so I agree with you absolutely about not using astrology as a decision maker. Personally never have. However studying psychology was also an eye opener in the sense that it’s frightening how many people will literally put themselves in your hands to do with as you will because they think you know more about them than they do. I’ve come across plenty of really unprofessional counsellors too. I think proper training with recognised training bodies is essential for any kind of work when you are dealing with people and their psyche, because they are vulnerable. I also strongly believe that training should include proper supervision of the counsellor too and proper work on themselves. Thank you for your response.

      • I so understand where you’re coming from Sarah. The incident I cited was over 30 years ago but the ‘astrologer’ to whom I referred told me that I was likely to have a serious road accident and to be raped. (Niether have happened) Interestingly he failed to pick up that I was pregnant- which for me was the saving grace as it suggested that his powers to predict the future were severely limited!

        • I think there are some seriously self unaware people about Trish, they don’t mean to do any harm as far as they are concerned, but are clueless as to the damage they can do. People who feel they are lacking in some sense and so set themselves up as counsellors and advisors and think nothing for example of telling you how it is in your relationship – but have never had a decent relationships themselves. Have you noticed that? I think there is a lot of truth in the saying “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. What a lovely way for you to realise maybe your astrologer wasn’t all that! Made me giggle when I read your post 🙂 Best wishes

  9. @trish absolutely concur, as if one controls the aspects one is born under. If there are difficult combinations in a birth chart the native can’t really do anything about it. The guidance that an astrologer can provide should help one understand how to deal with the effects by changing their perspective, attitude for the future, mitigating blockages.

  10. When the Sun passes Saturn on 29th February this year…we are in a new phase of Saturn energy I believe that the influence of Saturn is ‘ dying ‘ humanity will pass the baton to Pluto and Uranus..changing the consciousness of us all, willingly or unwillingly..

  11. There are aspects which are considered very negative by astrologers, are spoken about fearfully and scare the native/ client. If astrologers are well versed in pscychology, trained in how to approach difficult aspects it would help people in the best possible way. For example I had gone to see an astrologer who was overly concerned about Sun conjunct Saturn and north node opp Pluto, south node. Recommended some rituals to correct this problem, made us feel more worried than before. Would love to take up studies combining both astrology and psychology in the future.

    • I absolutely agree, Devi. I visited an astrologer once who tore into me because I have Mars in Scorpio Square Pluto in Leo. I’m aware of the need to keep this influence under control, but am not usually described as ‘ruthless’and ‘cruel’. I knew, however, that this person had recently experienced a difficult divorce from his wife. Any woman with the same sun sign as his wife seemed to be fair game. I think that astrology used for altruistic purposes can be really beneficial to an individual. However I also belive that nobody should be practising as an astrologer without having a full insight into their own chart and how this might influence their dealings with and comments to, other people. The potential to cause enormous harm to vulnerable people is too great.

      • “I knew, however, that this person had recently experienced a difficult divorce from his wife. Any woman with the same sun sign as his wife seemed to be fair game.”

        That’s exactly why I believe supervision of those who act as counsellors for others is so important.

        • @Sarah C It is not only supervision of counsellors that is necessary, I believe that it is recognized that counsellors need counselling as well, as the load they carry when they hear peoples’ troubles can significantly become troublesome.

          • Absolutely, that’s what I meant by supervision. When studying and also once working. Sorry, didn’t make myself clear.

  12. The problem can often be – you know the problem. But you don’t know how to solve it. Or it can cost you in some ways, and maybe some people are not willing to go through that sacrifice. At other times, people probably just can’t get a handle of what’s wrong (with them or otherwise). And at even further other times, you can bewitch yourself that you got it what’s wrong, do something to cure that, and it will end up solved. All sorts of stuff can happen.

    I wonder if you wrote about Michel Onfray and how that whole saga ended up when the French psychoanalysts ganged up against him. I think he retreated in the end.

    When Neptune goes out of Pisces, perhaps the confusion will melt and we will have to sort out what’s working and what’s not and what is to be with alternative theories (of reality and otherwise, such as meditation – does it help or is it fuelling depersonalization and those other phenomena, positive thinking, law of attraction as magical thinking or something else, does breathing help or hinder and so on).

    • ‘The problem can often be – you know the problem. ….’

      My take is that we know the problem but within the chart is also the solution. So therein lies the lesson on how to decipher the puzzle and balance the energies/planets. That is our life long journey as we get to know and understand ourselves as the planets represent the 12 parts of our personality intermingled the different aspects. It’s a conundrum but with the chart we are born with our life purpose. The astrologer helps us understand what the planets represent and how they can work together for good or ill but essentially we have to do the work and create that balance we need. Only we know how the mix of energies are working within us. Maybe that’s what they mean by ‘Know Thyself ‘.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: