The complexity of human thought is something that we are all well acquainted with. A renowned astronomer once described this as, “The most complex physical object known to man in the entire cosmos”. High praise indeed! It is this complexity that allows us to reign supreme at the top of the intelligence quotient scale of the animal kingdom. This however also does present something of a paradox, as the average human, if left to their own devices will generally be incapable of interpreting many of their inner complexities.
Astrology is often used as a means of discovering more about one’s nature and temperament, which is somewhat similar to how we think of psychology. It would therefore not be inaccurate to say that both disciplines are used, in different ways, to better understand the intricacies of human behaviour.
Your average astrologer may not ask you to recline on a couch and describe how things make you feel. However, astrologers do consider astrology to be a means of understanding and unravelling the human psyche. Some experts even describe themselves as ‘Holistic Psychotherapists’, as they take advantage of this overlap between the two disciplines and use this to explore and decode human behaviour.
What are the Similarities between Astrology and Psychology?
Psychology means “The study of the soul” and modern psychology is a science that first came into existence in the 1800s, in order to explain human behaviour and mental processes. That is not to say that people have not been curious about the workings of the human consciousness prior to this. In ancient Greece, Aristotle deliberated on the matter and came to the erroneous conclusion that consciousness resided not in the mind, but in the heart. Evidence that scholars considered matters of a psychological nature, can be found even further back in history, to ancient India and China.
Modern psychology is a very diverse field and can be practiced in different ways, depending on the school of thought that the expert in question favours. There are three such recognised methods of studying the mind, namely:
Sigmund Freud revolutionised the world of psychology with his concept of psychoanalysis and the remaining two methods have now given way to this concept.
Carl-Gustav Jung pioneered many modern psychological concepts but interestingly, he also expressed a keen interest in the light that a horoscope shed on certain complications and their character. In fact, Dr Jung was known to have horoscopes cast for difficult cases, in order to gain deeper insights. In his esteemed opinion, Dr Jung believed that this helped him understand certain points that may have otherwise escaped his attention.
Jung had concluded that astrology is an example of synchronicity on a big scale. What he essentially meant by this was that there was a definite synchronicity between the stars and psychological facts. Jung even discussed his beliefs about astrology with Freud and once sent him a letter in which he expressed the value of astrology in assisting with psychological insights.
This is not to suggest that Jung was a firm believer of astrology, as he did not particularly concern himself with literal astrological predictions. There is also a fair deal of background detail associated with Jung’s observations that need to be taken into consideration, before any conclusions can be drawn about his convictions in this regard.
As Jung observed, given the common areas of interest between astrology and psychology in terms of how astrology and psychology explore and understand human behaviour, there is potential for astrology to aid self-discovery and even complement the psychoanalysis of certain conditions.
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The Role of Astrology in Personal Growth and Self-Improvement
We have established that those psychologists who are open to employing astrological principles, are able to correlate a pattern of similarity between the details of a natal chart and an individual’s personality. For their part, astrologists know that astrological concepts can be applied to essentially gauge the nature of the ‘Psychic Energy’ within a person and hence discover more about the inner workings of their mind. Systematically analysing this information allows the person in question, to better understand their strengths and weaknesses and thereby chart out an effective course for personal growth.
For the uninitiated, the level of detail that a horoscope can reveal about an individual’s nature, temperament and overall personality, can be surprisingly overwhelming. A comprehensive ‘Astrology Personality Report’ is therefore used to condense this into actionable information. In order to prepare such a report, some of the important astrological characteristics that are analysed are:
The Ascendant’s House
The natal chart is divided into 12 houses, each affecting a different aspect of a person’s life. The ascendant is the first of these houses and technically speaking, it is the point on the eastern horizon that was rising at the time of birth. The influences on this house define a person’s thoughts, temperament, appearance, general way of thinking and even their mental health.
Factors that Influence the Ascendant’s House
The zodiac sign that occupies this house:
Each zodiac sign has certain unique characteristics and these influence the likes, dislikes and general temperament of an individual. For example, if Aries is the zodiac sign of the ascendant, a person will tend to be impatient and impulsive. If, on the other hand this is Aquarius, a person can be patient, determined and pensive.
The alignment of the planet that rules this house:
That is, the strength or degree at which this planet is placed. Whether the zodiac sign and any occupying planets, are compatible or favourable. The effects of the other planets in the chart, on the ruling planet of the ascendant
The planets that aspect and occupy this house:
In addition to the planet representing the ascendant’s lord itself, the planets that occupy and aspect this house, also have a strong influence on the mental make of an individual. That is, these planets will also impose their characteristics on a person’s basic nature. These may be the positive or negative characteristics of such planets, depending on their placements and how they interact with, other planets in the chart.
The Moon Sign
This is the zodiac sign in which the Moon is placed in the natal chart. In Vedic (sidereal) astrology, this sign dictates all the important characteristics of a person and determines how we interact with other people. The Moon sign is thought to represent the inner feelings that we are born with, as carried over from previous births.
This sign is considered to be of greater importance than our Sun sign and is an important factor when two horoscopes are matched. Some important traits of each sign are described further on.
The House of Actions
As individuals, we are but the sum total of our actions. The guiding principle of Vedic astrology is that our actions are all powerful and even the planets play a subservient role to them. However, this is somewhat of a paradox as our actions or ‘Karma’ is determined by the planetary influences on the 10th house of the natal chart, or the house of actions.
Personality Traits of the Zodiac Signs
The twelve zodiac signs play an important role in determining a person’s emotional characteristics. Each of the three zodiac signs that make up the personality of an individual, that is the Moon, Sun and name derived zodiac signs, are all subject to these characteristics.
It has been observed that according to Jung’s description of extroverts, there are six extroverted signs that all share similar traits. These are:
Aries is the first sign of the zodiac and is a fire sign, governed by Mars. Aries is a cardinal sign that is, those governed by this sign are natural leaders and initiators. As a consequence, many Ariens have an optimistic, take charge, can-do attitude. They can therefore, be inclined to jump into situations without weighing all the pros and cons beforehand.
Strengths: Ariens have good leadership qualities, are enterprising, fun loving, independent, courageous, assertive and competitive.
Weaknesses: They can be impatient, impulsive, reckless, over competitive and can lack emotional intelligence.
Gemini is the third sign of the zodiac and is an air sign. The sign of the twins is ruled by the planet Mercury. As they are usually versatile, sociable, articulate and intelligent, Geminis make up many of the journalists, teachers, spin doctors and advertising and PR professionals of the world.
Strengths: Geminis possess intellectual versatility, a sharp intellect, problem solving capabilities, good analytical and communication skills. They are generally witty and charismatic.
Weaknesses: They can be complex and contradictory in nature. They are prone to restlessness, sulking and a self-centred attitude. They can also lack resolve, focus, application and the ability commit to tasks.
Leo is the fifth sign of the zodiac and is a fire sign, ruled by the Sun. Leo the lion is the king of the zodiac jungle. Leos are bold and self-assured. Although they can possess somewhat of a dramatic nature, you won’t find many with the personality of the cowardly lion from the Wizard of Oz.
Strengths: Leos are generally confident, bold and outgoing. They usually have noticeable leadership qualities and some degree of charisma. They are large hearted, generous individuals who are affectionate and loyal to their friends.
Weaknesses: Leos are prone to seeking attention and have a need for appreciation. They can be arrogant, autocratic, jealous, selfish, aggressive and short-tempered.
Libra is the seventh sign of the zodiac. This air sign is ruled by Venus. Librans desire balance and harmony in their lives. Due to the influence of Venus, they are attracted by objects of beauty, have a good sense of aesthetics and a keen eye for art and design. Libras are known for their ability to make others feel at ease, hence they are generally well liked.
Strengths: Gracious, just, even handed, perceptive, articulate communicators, outgoing, sociable and popular. Libras make good mediators or arbitrators.
Weaknesses: Librans tend to procrastinate a great deal. They can also be shallow, fickle and indecisive. They often avoid making tough decisions.
Sagittarius is the ninth sign of the zodiac. This fire sign is ruled by Jupiter, the mentor of planets. People under this sign have a philosophical nature and may be interested in spiritual or metaphysical concepts.
Strengths: They are generally optimistic, frank, adventurous, witty and open-minded. Sagittarians possess good judgement, are independent thinkers and have a strong sense of personal freedom. They are also fond of learning and exploring new things.
Weaknesses: They can be inclined to change loyalties or abandon long held beliefs, if this serves their purpose. They will many a time, hide their true emotions, Sagittarian women are sometimes perceived as being frigid. Sagittarians can also be quick to anger, demanding, blunt and abrasive.
Aquarius is the eleventh sign of the zodiac. This air sign is ruled by Saturn and some of the most popular people in the zodiac, come from this sign. People of this sign have a strong sense of social justice, an original, creative way of thinking and may resist being tied down or controlled by others.
Strengths: Aquarians are independent, intelligent, unconventional, individualistic, friendly and sociable. Aquarians are intuitive, clear and logical thinkers. Their ideas are innovative and original, which can often make them ahead of their times. They are humanitarian lovers of freedom.
Weaknesses: Aquarians can have fierce, fearsome tempers. They can be perceived as being frivolous exhibitionists and detached, rude and eccentric loners. They are stubborn in their opinions and do not easily forgive or forget.
There are also six introverted signs that similarly share the qualities of an introvert. These are:
Taurus is the second sign of the zodiac. Taurus is an earth sign, ruled by Venus. Taureans are practical, grounded and reliable and therefore make excellent Second-in-Commands. However, they are also notorious for their stubborn bull-headedness. Taureans like stability and security and are averse to changes or taking risks. They are materialistic beings, fond of worldly comforts and the finer things in life.
Strengths: They are dependable, pragmatic, patient, persistent, principled and trustworthy. Taureans are practical, creative and also technically minded.
Weaknesses: Can be stubborn, argumentative, slaves to convention and prone to harbouring grudges. They resist change and can be slow to adopt new ideas.
Cancer is the fourth sign of the zodiac. Cancer is a water sign, ruled by the Moon. Cancerians are emotional beings with a highly developed sense of intuition and strong nurturing instincts. They are in touch with their own feelings and those of others. They desire stability and security in their relationships. There is a degree of duality in the Cancerian nature, while may adopt a tough persona, inside they are sentimental and can be swayed by emotion. They are also prone to suffering from a feeling of self-pity or inferiority and sometimes take offence to imaginary insults. They can also be taken in by sycophancy.
Strengths: They are creative, imaginative, artistic, emotional, shrewd, intuitive, wise, traditional, loyal and protective.
Weaknesses: Cancerians can be moody, timid, dull, shy, withdrawn, untidy, overly sensitive and moody. They are prone to suffering from feelings of self-pity or inferiority.
Virgo is the sixth sign of the zodiac. This is an earth sign, ruled by Mercury. The typical Virgo has an analytical bent of mind and perfectionist nature. They tend to hide their true feelings and can appear to be detached, often as a result of their own insecurities.
Strengths: They are logical, studious, shrewd, responsible, analytical, good communicators, hardworking and pragmatic. They are perfectionists with an eye for detail.
Weaknesses: Virgos tend to lack passion, be excessive worriers and hypochondriacs. They can also be fickle, indecisive and unduly critical of others. They are not inclined to try new experiences or take up challenges. Males can sometimes come across as effeminate.
Scorpio is the eighth sign of the zodiac and a water sign that is governed by the fiery planet Mars. They have an intense, emotional nature and are often regarded as the hotheads of the zodiac. They are problem solvers, truth seekers, the solvers of mysteries and are the sort of people who take up psychology, investigative work or some form of research. Gaining the trust of a Scorpio is not an easy task and they like to keep their emotions and thoughts private.
Strengths: They are confident, enterprising, passionate, intuitive, determined, resourceful and lively.
Weaknesses: They can be jealous, possessive, short-tempered, vindictive, impatient and impulsive.
Capricorn is the tenth sign of the zodiac. Saturn is the ruling planet of this earth sign. Capricorns possess an ambitious and disciplined nature, a strong sense of purpose and a good work ethic. They can however, lack creativity and originality. Capricornians are often guilty of being chronic complainers.
Strengths: They are hardworking, pragmatic, ambitious, dedicated, disciplined, reliable and responsible.
Weaknesses: They can be demanding, authoritarian, flippant, capricious, selfish, miserly, boring and workaholics.
Pisces is the twelfth sign of the zodiac. Jupiter is the ruling planet of this water sign. Those belonging to the zodiac sign of Pisces are sensitive, intuitive, compassionate and humane. They can often draw on these characteristics during the course of their careers. Following a plan till its logical conclusion, is not their forte. Although they are able to connect with others on a deep level, they enjoy solitude.
Strengths: They are compassionate, sensitive, intuitive and imaginative. They possess emotional intelligence, linguistic skills and creativity.
Weaknesses: They can be unreliable, oversensitive, naïve, day dreamers and impractical. They can lack confidence and guile.
Possible Drawbacks of Using Astrology for Psychological Analysis
Astrology is a tool for improving human life. However make no mistake, despite the claims of many astrologers, astrology is not a science. This erroneous claim is mainly due to a confusing of astrological methodology as scientific principle. Needless to say, these are two very different quantities, but that is not to suggest that astrology is not worthy of recognition. Astrology hasn’t received the recognition it deserves simply because its time hasn’t yet come, something that we have alluded to in our article, ‘Astronomy, Outer Space and Astrology’.
Given that astrology is not bound by scientific principle, it cannot replace a discipline that is. Therefore, if a subject is in need of clinical evaluation, an astrological report or horoscope analysis should only be thought of as a complementary aid.
Another point to consider is that just as in the case of psychology, in astrology too, there are both good and bad practitioners. If the expert in question lacks competency or integrity, their advice will not yield the desired results.
If the above points are taken into consideration, there are no reasonable drawbacks or counterproductive effects to any astrological report and these may be used universally, for any form of casual self-discovery.
Astrological Remedies for Mental Health
The following talismans promote mental health and self-improvement:
Natural crystal is a material that promotes harmony, inner peace and mental and emotional well-being. Most crystal talismans and beads are suitable for this. A detailed explanation of the benefits of crystals can be found on our ‘Good Luck Charms’ page.
The Hindu god, Lord Shiva delivered knowledge of this amulet to man so as to drive out all forms of darkness from our lives, through the light provided by knowledge. This amulet promotes inner peace and spiritual growth.
'Om' is the sound of God, chanting this sound is a form of meditation that brings spiritual growth and relieves stress. Placing the physical representation of ‘Om’ in the form of this talisman, has a similar effect and is also a means of increasing the curative effects of meditating.
Rudraksh beads are known to promote peace and divinity. Therefore, wearing a set of beads that combine the powers of crystals and rudraksh beads, is a powerful means of relieving stress and bringing greater harmony to one’s life. A detailed explanation of rudraksh beads can be found on our ‘Good Luck Charms’ page.
Astrology has immense potential to improve almost all aspects of life. It is believed that this knowledge was given to man by the Divine, to be used as a guide. There is thus, no good reason for us to deprive ourselves of this tool, whether we seek mental, emotional, spiritual or material growth.