by Robert Wilkinson
There's a lot of upheaval in many lives right now, with people looking for jobs, changing jobs, or wondering if they should be doing something differently than they are. As I was in the same situation many times when younger, today I'll offer some ways to approach what is, and what could be.
I've found over the decades of doing what I do that whether I've known it or seen it or not, it seems that almost everything I've ever done has served the whole of what I bring to my craft. Though I started doing astrology many decades ago, I've also done many other things along the way.
I used to wonder why I had accomplished a certain set of tasks and skills only to move in a seemingly different direction into a new set of skills and tasks unrelated to the previous set. As time goes on, I am noticing the pieces falling into place, often not the way I suspected earlier in life.
I've been thinking about these things, since many friends and clients have remarked that some of what I say and analogies I use are perfect to convey practical understanding of astrological terms, as well as human challenges. Much of this is synthesized from the many things I've learned and done throughout my life.
For example, two decades ago I spent a few years producing, directing, and editing many types of television shows. I did thousands of hours in studios and on locations, as well as hundreds of hours in editing bays, training in set design, lighting, camera and sound setup and balancing, signal routing in control rooms, character generating, and all the other minutiae of the craft.
I got into it quite by accident as a result of a temp gig I almost turned down, which is a strange story in itself. The magic of how I came to be an accomplished producer, director and editor allows me to say that we should never overlook an opportunity simply because it doesn't conform to our vanity, short-sightedness, or assumptions about what we should be earning or doing. Even a very low paying temporary job can lead to a very fulfilling career in television!
The synergy part of this example comes in what I learned about lighting a studio set. Without boring you with details, when interviews are done on a set, each figure is lit from three angles so that there are no shadows on their faces. There is a key, fill, and back light, which fills the space in ways that almost all shadows are dispelled.
Before learning these things, I hadn't understood some principles about working with what we call "the human shadow." To understand how my knowledge of light and shadow relates to my ability to "shine a light" on personality problems, a little background is in order.
When younger, I had explored (and experienced!) a tremendous amount of difficulty, suffering, and frustration when dealing with human shadows, both my own and others, even if that term didn't exist back when I got my BA in Psychology. Carl Jung hadn't been "rehabilitated" in those ancient days, and the concept of "shadow material" was not taught in universities.
What I didn't learn from my psych studies about my life questions led me to explore astrology, starting that chapter of the adventure my life has become since then. While finishing college and embracing astrology, I also kicked around learning practical skills like cooking, making good coffee, even running restaurants, then wound up having a bookstore and school of astrology and metaphysics while producing a lot of concerts and cultural events from the mid-1970s through the mid-80s.
However, all good things come to an end. Bad ones too! I was done with producing and promoting concerts by the mid-80s, and didn't really know what I wanted to do next. I couldn't go back, didn't see clearly how to go forward or even where to put my energies, but still needed to make money somehow. So I did pickup gigs for over a year, mostly word processing. (That led me into being a feature film consultant for some of the biggest movies of the time, another story in itself.)
After countless temp gigs, it segued into the television work I've described. After some years, that too ended, but I've never forgotten what I learned when I did set lighting, as it's the perfect analogy for dealing with human shadows.
The analogy is specific and applicable. Usually when we confront shadow material in ourselves or another, we understand it from our pre-set point of view. That's one way to see things, and can be illuminating to some degree, but it still leaves other areas in the shadow.
That's the reason when we're dealing with our own or others' intellectual shadows, or emotional shadows, or interpersonal shadows, it's always useful to illuminate whatever dense object of thought and/or feeling that is creating the shadow from multiple light sources. In that way we dispel those shadows that arise when we only view things from one point of view.
Illuminating anything from multiple light sources entails finding enlightening views toward whatever is shadowed. If we find enough enlightened views of a thing and have lit that thought, feeling, or action from key, fill, and back light angles, we dispel shadows and can see anything in its "unshadowed" state.
That's also why it's often not enough simply to know what we know. We are forever challenged to keep learning different angles of approaching human experiences on this dense Earth, so that we can view things from multiple angles. And because none of us individually is as aware or knowledgable as we all are together, often if we wish to find a different way to illuminate something we must learn how others might view that particular shadow material.
The added benefit to this is found in something our old friend the "I Ching" has to say about learning. From the Wilhelm/Baynes translation, a piece from Hexagram 58, The Joyous:
Knowledge should be a refreshing and vitalizing force. It becomes so only through stimulating intercourse with congenial friends with whom one holds discussion and practices application of the truths of life. In this ways learning becomes many-sided and takes on a cheerful lightness, whereas there is always something ponderous and one-sided about the learning of the self-taught.
It's always good to share insights with others on your spiritual wavelength so that we can come to insights that can help us to help others. I've lived that principle for decades, and over the years and many diverse experiences in many crafts and skills, I've learned how to use insights and knowledge from any number of crafts and interactions to apply them to my work as an astrological and spiritual counselor.
I suppose it comes with almost 40 years' practice of astrology, since it's given me many opportunities to blend multiple practical experiences I've developed, including the writing and speaking skills I've cultivated over decades. My experiences as an astrologer have helped me understand the overview of my life experiences, just as my life experiences have contributed to my astrological interpretive abilities. Everything in our lives can contribute to all we do if we open to the spirit of learning and applying the knowledge we find in ways that we like.
At the very least I can say that having lit my life from so many different angles of experience, I'm not as beset by shadow material as I used to be. And that helps me put spotlights on the charts and lives of my clients so that they also can view their mythos, or movie of their life, from different angles of vision.
Never give up learning, and seeing how what you've learned can be applied in other ways, other fields, other angles of understanding. If we are in fact the stars of the movie of our lives, then it's important to light ourselves in the right way so that we and the audience don't wonder what's in the shadows.
© Copyright 2008 Robert Wilkinson