by Robert Wilkinson
Today's article is a response to a question a friend posited, that being "Why can't someone just rely on their intuition instead of astrology?" I suppose the short answer is that you can, but just be ready to take the consequences of acting with incomplete knowledge. We all make our decisions limited by our blind spots, our prejudices, and our wishful thinking. We all come from a family and culture with dualistic and inconsistent internal belief systems, and have been shaped by others in ways we barely suspect, by friends and foes, loved ones and strangers alike. In this sense it is useful to remember that all are our teachers, and show us how to raise our experience of life and response, human patterns in a forever changing reality leading us to our Higher Self.
Without belaboring the obvious, our personalities are for the most part products of cultural biases, assumptions, inferences, and delusions regarding the cause and effect process. These are the source of pleasure and pain for us, and afflict the entire human race. To believe differently is to invite the higher Law of our being to teach us that everyone is limited by perception, regardless of assumed certainty of view. All forms change, even our pre-set belief systems. This is useful to teach us humility and compassion as we learn how to adapt to this very curious, strange, and ever-changing world.
We are not trained to assess with accuracy what we feel, or why. Often our feelings mislead us, and what many believe to be intuition cannot be entirely trusted to bring clarity in what is happening and why. With self-knowledge we can come to a place where we can know the difference between true higher intuition and feeling-hunches, but it takes an amount of training with an ability to know the boundaries between one's own subconscious and others', as well as the collective unconscious.
We are a combination of subconsciousness, self-consciousness, and Super-consciousness. The works of the venerable Florence Scovel Shinn are particularly efficacious in fostering an understanding of the distinctions between these three, and how to bring our subconsciousness into line with our Superconsciousness. Often we feel that which others feel, and through wanting to be agreeable, take on belief systems which may or may not be true for us. Though we may try to build a sense of certainty about what we feel, this is not the same as true intuition, derived from "inner-tuition," or "inner instruction." It is immediate cognition, also referred to as "straight knowledge."
Intuition is an inner power to be cultivated. It is not the same as "psychic ability." The former works from heart knowledge, the latter from gut knowledge. While it might seem I'm splitting hairs, it's really quite a difference. Heart knowledge operates from loving-wisdom, while gut knowledge works from the astral (or emotional) level. While feelings can seem real because of their strength, often as not we misjudge the meaning of what we're feeling and miss the ideal. Most of us are not trained to distinguish between the apparently real and the conditionally real, much less the conditionally real versus the inherently real.
Astrology helps us to see the cycles of what's happening, and what is widespread versus what is particular. The planets can help us get a fix on whether we're beginning something, bringing something out into the world, or fulfilling the various areas of our human existence, preparing for other chapters of life about to open. We can see the timing of shifts in the effects of prior causes, and know whether it's a good time to launch our boats, mend our nets, or just party. We can know whether the storm we're in is personal or not, and when it will pass. We can know if it is in fact a good time to buy or sell something, or if it's better to hold back a little. And we can know what both we and others are going through, and hopefully choose the highest manifestation possible in the moment.
I suppose if we were saints we wouldn't have to worry much about timing, since we'd be doing our highest being all the time. However, since most of us are usually not very saintly in our behavior, thinking or feeling, it seems like astrology could be a valuable tool to give us a consistent yardstick with which to measure what's up and why, and remind us of what's possible in our human-ness. It's like a road map and a weather report. You may not need either of these to drive across the continent, but they can be useful to know when there are storms, as well as alternate routes to take.
Of course, winding up in a flood zone or a blizzard also teaches us patience and compassion, so I guess it all works out in the end. I'd just rather do it with least suffering along the way, given what we all have to learn anyway. There are other means of testing whether we are working from our intuition or our astral impressions, but that's another article for another time.
(Originally published 29 March 2005)