Understanding Astrology: cycles of transformation
the natal chart: a person-centered mandala
One definition of a mandala is “a symbol in a dream, representing the dreamer’s search for completeness and self-unity”. An astrological birth chart, or natal chart, is a person-centered mandala, symbol, or logos — a word of power. It carries a message: the symbolic formulation of your dharma (nature or reality), suggesting how you can best actualize the innate potentialities of your particular and unique selfhood.
Astrology is a language of symbols and implies a process of unfoldment or, as Carl Jung might have said, individuation. A birth chart may be “static”, but it can be “progressed” and related to the continuing movements of the planets after birth (transits) in the sky; Just as a true mandala is more than a static geometrical figure, so is your soul or self. The symbols in the mandala of your natal chart can be known as archetypes (primitive/natural traits).
Studying your natal chart can illuminate your conscious and unconscious feelings and responses to life. The entire zodiac constitutes a mandala, having rhythm as well as form. In terms of consciousness, the eon (or soul-incarnation) of a particular human life extends from birth to death and is the “soul” of that person with all of its shapes and rhythmic vibrations. This eon can be likened to the unchanged tone of your life cycle, from beginning to end. It is the “self” of your individual person as represented below in your natal chart, which conveys the rhythm of your life in a process of actualization, expression and becoming.
Your natal chart is a snapshot of the sky at the exact time you were born that shows you how (signs of the Zodiac) the archetypal forces or raw energy (planets) of your soul dance and sing in your subconscious psyche and where (houses) to expect those songs to be heard. Each planet’s placement in a sign and house contains information about your karmic and soul intentions in this lifetime, thus can provide you with unique and illuminating perspectives on these particular areas of life.
The natal chart depicts a life or cosmic process. This cosmic process is a ritual — a symbolic performance — for you, the individual who intuitively “sees” yourself as a participant in the universal process of actualization of the potentialities inherent in creation itself. The primary purpose of knowing your astrological birth chart is to assist in aligning your free will to the will of divine/God (fate) — to realize yourself as a co-creator with the universe. Your will becomes free when you link up to divine will to respond much more gracefully to “fated experiences”.
"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
a language of light and transformation
The world around you is not just made of soil, land, trees, clouds, and a beautiful sky. Beyond the clouds is an atmosphere that blends seamlessly into the greater space beyond. Truly, nothing separates the Earth from the interstellar dimensions of galaxies, nor from the magnanimous movements and rhythms of planetary bodies in the solar system.
Astrology is a language of light, time, space, seasons of change, and interconnectedness — of principles governed by universal laws that impact and transform life for organisms in ways that are beyond reason. Astrology is only a tool for reasoning with what is possible to understand rationally; A full understanding is also left for the heart to fill in, for intuition to guide.
The transpersonal planets — Uranus, Neptune, Pluto — may give us an idea of how the unconscious interacts with waking life. However, as you may begin to see, the truth of who you are to the core is as accessible as feeling your heart (Sun) and expressing your emotions (Moon) while aspects of your personality are revealed through your connections (Venus) and motivations (Mars). Your increasing wisdom (Jupiter) develops naturally and the way you respond (Saturn) continually points to the ubiquitous qualities of human nature and decision-making.
Historically speaking, astrology for spiritual enlightenment is actually a fairly recent idea. But Astrology is a technology (way of doing), science (way of knowing), and art (expression) of divination — a practice of seeking knowledge of the unknown — which is ageless, eternal, and ancient. Perhaps the inner workings of human character and cultural ethos are often so mysterious that they can be likened to the thrill of a universe of possibilities unfolding and narrating a cosmic mythos.
The way you naturally perceive your own light (Ascendant) always creates and attracts an opposite, less visible, and subtle shadow showing up as “other” (Descendant) to unite and love all of the inner forces of your own personality. What you perceive becomes your reality and subconscious identity. All that’s rejected as yourself shows up to be loved and appreciated again.
The fundamental inheritance of your family tree, DNA, and social and environmental upbringing (Nadir) organically mesh and mingle with authority figures and public spheres to shape your inner-authority (Mid Heaven). The concept of right and wrong becomes a known branch of the cultural rhizome. Praise and shame paint a picture of perfect conduct. Love and discipline shape vulnerabilities and ways of creating your own personal conditions.
Karmic lessons can be sought, but they are also inevitably found. The key lessons (North Node) show up naturally as counterpoints to the chosen past (South Node). Your fate, destiny, life path, and purpose intertwine without effort as a seed grows without thought into a blossoming tree with fruits to bear.
Perhaps the perfect healing and alignment to the “right” path is more of a matter of attitude, willpower, and gratitude than ideal conditioning. The skins you shed may not always be yours, but the skins you choose to wear and bear thereafter are yours to decide. Fulfillment can be subjective, and facing fear is not always as dark as it seems.
Religious beliefs, spiritual views, and secular practices from all over the world have been combined with astrology with ideas of karma, reincarnation, and the afterlife: Eastern religions and spiritual sects like Hinduism and Buddhism, Western and European ways of life like paganism, and indigenous spiritual practices and ceremonies. Today, people combine astrology with energy healing, dream interpretation, mediumship, yoga, and meditation.
The way you unconsciously or consciously relate to the universal archetypes that have been celebrated through time will impact how you create your life. To learn and question or experience and answer the questions of how to live a vibrant and radiant life hold equal weight. Astrology, at the very least, teaches you to observe the natural cycles of nature and relate them to your own life. The guiding laws and truths that persist unchanged through time are only half of what the power of free will and choice offers.
In a co-creative process, you act as co-creator of an invaluable creation: life itself and the “myth” that is told by you living it. As the complex inner worlds of both yourself and others are explored, you naturally relate to your internal and external worlds with greater ease, flow, empowerment, maturity, and wisdom and live life vibrantly.
Progression: Your Current Evolution
Progressions are seen as depictions of how your natal chart is expressing itself most accurately right now — your current “state of mind”. A progressed chart shows how your personality changes overtime, particularly the planets closest to the personality structure, such as the Moon, Sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter, which all slowly “progress” or move into a new evolutionary cycle marked by the change of signs. All other planets will most likely remain in the same sign your entire life.
Of most notable progression is the Sun, encompassing a vast portion of your identity structure. The Sun, in its movement of one degree forward in the Zodiac for every day (in progressed chart calculations), typically changes to the next sign in or before 30 years of age, since each since occupies 30 degrees in the Zodiac. Comparatively, the Moon moves much faster through the signs — about every 2 1/2 years — and is perhaps the most relevant progressed feature.
The progressed chart doesn’t portray a complete change in personality but can be greatly insightful about life transitions and those life happenings that seem to stick around “too long”, but really just haven’t been recognized properly in the context of evolutionary cycles. Perhaps most valuably, the progressed chart is a way to check in with your higher self as you continue on your life path and change through time.
Transits: the current sky
Transits are seen as pivotal phases of psychological development rather than fated events. They are aspects between a planet’s current location in the sky and its corresponding position in your natal chart. As planets continue their orbits and movement through the Zodiac, they will inevitably aspect the planetary positions in your birth chart and form a transit in tangent with the planets in your natal chart. These transits bring gifts and lessons, some more easily received than others.
The term “transit” implies movement, not just those of celestial bodies, but movements in consciousness, moods, motivations, identity, preferences, and other behavioral proclivities. Planets transiting the sky also transit your natal chart, prompting changes in energies related to the signs, houses, and natal planets that they touch. Transits don’t always have a specific effect on your life; Sometimes transits change the feel of your every day-to-day life, but most importantly, they influence who you meet and what you attract — people with a predominant nature in accordance with the transiting planet.
Limits create seeds of growth
Keep in mind that no one indication in the chart can be taken by itself as a total indicator of any area of life. Planetary placements must be considered not as they stand alone but as they connect, relate, and are positioned with other aspects in the chart. The journey that unfolds in your own “knowing” of what is true is can be a gradual unfolding over time, but sometimes information just “lands” and something is realized, activated, and validated in a mysterious way. Over time, you may begin to trust your intuition on what you cannot explain but just know is true: a kosmognosis.
Just as living wisely takes a lifetime(s) to embody, synthesizing the information in your natal chart can be a lifetime of discovery and conversation. “Reading a chart” is a continuous dialectic with the invisible and visible forces around you. Interpreting the whole of your chart in a few hours is like trying to swallow the sea, so the scope of that effort is beyond one Astrology Reading. However, one touch-point into your “astrological portrait” lays a necessary foundation for absorbing and making sense of an uncommonly spoken language of symbols that can activate latent, potent[ial] codes from your DNA.
Greater clarity and inspired purpose are possible with a curious mind welcoming not only a mental translation but an emotional, physical, and spiritual awareness. For further expansion, dialogue, and understanding, don’t hesitate to schedule a reading with Kinan.
May your personal truths be illuminated. May you “see the unknown”.
about the author
Kinan offers Evolutionary Astrology & Life Coaching for living aligned with your divine design. He brings somatic perspectives from integrative bodywork + ashtanga yoga to all of his work, having practiced yoga, bodywork, and astrology since 2012.
Kinan engages tools and processes through a neo-shamanic lens of healing the human hologram, values-based purpose work, & coaching centered on soul-fulfillment & masculine-feminine polarity dynamics in relationships. He works intuitively with seeing how internal and external ecosystems harmonize, supporting others to access their innate intelligence, resources, and genius.