Dear star lovers, I want to give you a few suggestions now for good astrology habits, using the first eleven cards of the tarot as a template and guide. The Rider-Waite-Smith deck was my inspiration here, from the Fool through the Wheel of Fortune.
Why astrology and tarot together? If you decide to include them in your collection of cool stuff, you'll discover how well they complement each other while expanding your intuition. Also, right now is a perfect opportunity to do a little more tarot talk (although if you ask me, it's never a bad time to add a card or two).
The Fool is bold. The Fool is brave. The Fool is a little impulsive. The Fool loves something new, striking out on a fresh path, a wild beginning. I recommend to you this Fool mindset as you start (or continue) your astrology studies. Have an open mind and a beginner's heart. Let the star path show you its twists and turns as you enter this world without any preconceived notions.
Let's say you're an intermediate astrology student. Maybe an almost-expert. The truth is, even experts start over. Forget everything you know, just like the Fool does. Embark on your astrology journey as if all the highways are new, the car is new, even the sky and stars are brand-new, just for you, as you look up at them for the first time. Let yourself begin.
The Magician is confident. The Magician is clever. The Magician is a master. I recommend you pick an area of astrology, a part that calls to you, and commit to it. Don't worry about understanding all of astrology. No one does. Aim for becoming a specialist, like a good scholar. Discover what part of astrology delights you the most. Let it obsess you. You can always branch out later. You no doubt will.
Maybe it's a deep understanding of the signs. Perhaps it's how to predict the future using ancient techniques. What I'm talking about here isn't just talent but prowess born of deep focus.
What skills do you need? The Magician might say you have to use your brain (the suit of Swords) and your heart (the suit of Cups), and be practical about it (the Pentacles suit), but also inspired and passionate (Wands). Approach astrology with your entire self.
The High Priestess
The High Priestess is mysterious, quiet, intuitive. She knows how to keep things hidden. You don't have to tell anybody what you’re doing (your choice), but I do recommend you keep at least some of your astrology work under wraps while it weaves its way into your life. Let it be your secret companion for a little while.
Try doing your astrology work in the dark of night, under a New Moon. Do it by candlelight. Unlike the Magician who labors, the High Priestess receives wisdom just by opening her hands. She knows that the stars and heavens will speak. I also recommend you include tranquil time with your astrology work. Let's say you spend two hours with a complex book or drawing a chart by hand and your mind gets weary. Make sure to let the information sit and be still. The High Priestess would.
The Empress is passionate, creative, beautiful. She's always birthing something. The Empress says, "I have it." Life is not just fine, but abundant. I recommend your astrology work be the work of pleasure. Don't do it unless you enjoy it. This is when you'll know for sure whether astrology is part of your spiritual path. Use pleasure as your measure. Do you love it? Is it beautiful to you?
Sure, you can study astrology on the fly, in a rush, but the Empress would recommend you feel relaxed when you open those books, feet up, dressed comfortably, a glass of wine (or other favorite drink) in your hand. Even though I've been using the phrase astrology work, it shouldn't be a chore. Astrologers send love letters to the stars. The Empress would, too, I think, in flowing cursive handwriting.
The Emperor can be rigid, it's true. He balances the Empress's sensual nature. He's not about pleasure, but structures and rules. Structures and rules are a theme around here, that practice makes ... practice. I recommend you follow the Emperor and create an orderly course of study for yourself. Set aside a regular time to learn your personal astrology. Have a weekly session just for current transits. Keep track of the New and Full Moons. Decide on a schedule and stick to it.
The Emperor, also, is a leader. When I think of your astrology work through this particular tarot-card lens, I see you teaching a class on how to read the cards and stars. Sound good? When I was learning astrology, I never ever thought I would be reading charts for others, much less teaching it. But here we are. This may also be your fate.
The Hierophant is a traditional kind of guy, large and in charge, and has a similar vibe to the Emperor, liking structure and rules—but he's also akin to the contemplative High Priestess. He knows things. Spiritual teaching is his gift.
The study of astrology isn't merely divination (which is an awesome thing in and of itself ) or a tool for self-growth, but a mystical pathway. You can turn away from this path, or never step foot on it at all, but please realize what astrology is: passage to another world. Study of it will take you there.
I've often said (about astrology and tarot) I don't know how it works—I just know that it does. With the Hierophant comes this recommendation: make sure your learning is solid, not soggy. Learn the firm foundations. Study the planets. Study the signs. Start there.
The Lovers are happy and naked. The Lovers are blessed by an angel. Now, I'm not necessarily promoting naked tarot (although be my guest), but I do recommend having an astrology friend just as you acquired a tarot friend. It can be the same friend or a different one. Why? So that you have someone to discuss astrology with!
Don't learn this awesome stuff alone. You are going to want to talk about it. With people. Trust me. This can be through a real-life group or online. It can be small or big or one-on-one. You could even find a favorite podcast where you call in like an obsessive fan. Like the Lovers card, I recommend that you find like-minded souls so you can compare your natal charts, track your transits together, and share the love.
The Chariot is victorious, but there are bumps in the road, starts and stops. There will be times when you need to get out of the car and stretch your legs. There will be times when you don't want to ask anyone if they know their Sun, Moon, and Ascendent, and you let your astrology obsession rest. On other days, you'll be begging to run the birth chart of everyone in the room.
There are always detours along the way, no matter what we discover on the spiritual path. Sometimes you'll be all fired up, and other times want to forget it all. You may even want to push the damn Chariot into the ocean. It's normal.
Approach your astrology work like the Chariot: getting lost is part of the trip, but ultimately you will reach your destination (and then the one after that, and the one after that).
Strength is gentle, slow to anger, unyielding. Be gentle with yourself, please, as you consider adding astrology to your life. Learning astrology will take time, so go one step at a time. Although I'm going to suggest you read widely and often, and immerse yourself in the waters of the stars, Strength recommends a soft pace.
If you start to feel frustrated or overwhelmed, take breaks but don't quit. These days we have blogs and sites and apps, in addition to good books and teachers. Yes, there's a ton of information out there. You'll find the perfect book, perfect teacher, other resources. Go slow.
Many versions of this card feature a woman and a lion. Is she closing the lion's jaws or comforting him? Maybe both. In my favorite deck, she looks positively serene. The road may seem everlasting at times, but it's worth traveling.
The Hermit is alone in the near dark. The Hermit moves slowly. The Hermit is the light of wisdom. Often depicted holding a lantern, it's serious solitude when the Hermit arises in your head or your tarot spread. Time for quiet, time for study, and not unlike the High Priestess, but the emphasis here is on knowledge recovered and discovered, not merely known or intuited.
With the Hermit comes this recommendation: read, read, read. Build an occult library of your own with real, touchable books, not just electronic ones. Return to the habit of lovely covers and printed ink and books that get wet in the rain. You don't need thousands. Shoot for at least twenty-five in your astrology collection! The more books, the more wisdom could be the Hermit's motto, who not only reads but studies and, yes, teaches what she learns.
Wheel of Fortune
The Wheel of Fortune is unpredictable. The Wheel goes round and round. The Wheel is often good, albeit unexpected, progress for you. With the Wheel comes this recommendation: study astrology without expectation.
See where it takes you. Let it lead you. Be wild and free with the crazy stars. Let those Emperor and Hierophant and Magician good habits that we talked about mix and meld with the adventuresome Chariot and Fool.
The Wheel of Fortune is associated with fate. You chose this article. You chose to be here. When the Wheel of Fortune comes to visit, please understand that the map of your journey has disappeared, and the car has a mind of its own. Maybe you'll pick astrology up and drop it. Maybe you'll study it for life. And maybe you’ll be the next great astrology writer and thinker. Trust, my dear star lovers. Trust the Wheel of fate.
Excerpted from A Mystical Practical Guide to Magic, by Aliza Einhorn.