It’s important to have a clear picture of esoteric astrology so you can understand what some of the deeper interpretations really mean.
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Esoteric Astrology really doesn’t get into any of these topics in-depth, and while yes, they are mentioned, they are not as emphasized as they are in regular western esoteric astrology. This can be misleading at first, which is why I want to clear things up here.
Since E Astrology is heavily rooted in Hinduism and eastern philosophy, we can look to it for more guidance, and we find information to address these topics. The first point to note is retrograde planets. The more planets that are retrograde in a natal chart reveals what is happening in the inner life, as C.W. Leadbeater would define it. Planets are retrograde in a natal chart because the native has to work on those traits more during this incarnation. If a chart has very few to no retrograde planets in it, then this is a lifetime of forward momentum.
From a group soul perspective, we could say that when it comes to outer planets that are retrograde for large groups of people, they represent group karma. For illustrative purposes, let’s say Mars is retrograde in a natal chart. This would tell us that in this lifetime, the native is working on two major themes:
The first is that it is learning and understanding how to manage energy more responsibly since Mars corresponds to energy. The second is that the soul is working on understanding themes that have to do with inner masculinity. Working with the male divine in various ways may occupy a lot of his/her energy, and this is exactly what is needed during this lifetime. Don’t worry, I’m not just picking on Mars, the same could be said of Venus!
Moving on, let’s turn our attention to aspects. These are a little easier to understand, especially if you stick to the five Ptolemaic variants. Aspects come to us from past lives, and they represent some of our more personal experiences in those lives.
A general rule of thumb is that the more squares in a chart, the older the soul. This is because squares represent challenges, but also the forging process and growth opportunities, if the hard work is applied. An older soul sees the value of an incarnation, and considers packing more lessons into each life before becoming incarnate. So, older souls will take on more challenging incarnations in the name of moving forward, faster.
In contrast, though, the sextiles in your chart reveal things your soul has developed in previous lifetimes to the degree that they manifest as talents and natural abilities in this one. Conjunctions, too, reveal that the soul developed the combination of the planets involved, in the ways in line with the signs, and will manifest in the life areas of the houses. Oppositions simply reveal something that was used in a conflicting excess in previous lives. Finally, trines could be considered as untapped potential. Potentially powerful, yet dormant until activated, they are the latent abilities that each and every one of us have.
Finally, we come to the houses, and there is even less information here than having to do with the previous few paragraphs. As a matter of fact, a fairly famous quote comes from Esoteric Astrology, “The houses are the prisons of the soul.” This was a phrase she channeled during one of her sessions that made it into her books, but oftentimes it is looked down upon for the obvious connotations.
Personally, I think it’s a partial literary blind covering a powerful truth, but one has to dig deeper than the surface to discover it, and most don’t do that. We live in an age of soundbites, after all. They are a prison insofar that the reason they are imprisoning to us is because what is happening in those houses stem from the karma and consequences from previous lives. So yes, they are quite imprisoning, but that very virtue is why they are so liberating.
We can look at an astrological chart, analyze the cusping sign, look at occupying planets and aspects, and see what is going on in day-to-day life. In other words, astrology gives us the gift of sight into our lives. As we improve ourselves, we increase the mastery of our chart, which in turn, helps us be proactive regarding our spiritual growth. It’s nice how it all comes together, isn’t it?
Now that these last few pieces of the puzzle have been added, it is now on you. If you have read all of these pieces, you now have all of the preliminary information to look at your natal chart through the lens of Esoteric Astrology and actually understand what it is telling you! So, I suggest you do that now. If you don’t have a journal already, I would encourage you to get one.
What are your dominant rays? What ascended masters are present? How do the sacred and non-sacred planets shake out? What else jumps out at you, when you factor in retrogrades, aspects, and houses? Take your time to do this now, as we will change direction and look at a broader context.