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by Gary Brand - written July 10, 2008,
published in the August 2008 edition of Echo* newspaper

Ptolemy & Astrologia, the Greek goddess of Astrology Claudius Ptolemy (Ptolomeus in Latin) observing a huge armillary sphere and the heavens using an astrolabe and being instructed by Astrologia, the Greek goddess of Astrology, while a scribe records his measurements.  A 1515 woodcut by Erhardt Schön.
 have now completed a series of articles on the metaphysics and metaphysical meanings of the signs of the zodiac and the planets.  However, I have yet to explain how metaphysics is applied using astrology.  This article gives some examples of how the first principles discussed in the previous series can be applied in a person’s birth chart.

Metaphysics means the search for causality or truth, the esoteric meaning, which is often subtle or abstract – we must search for or discover the meaning underlying the obvious.  The prefix “meta” means beyond or behind so metaphysics is literally what’s behind the physical or physically obvious, i.e. the inner truth vs. the outer appearance.  In Latin, meta means a goal or end, a turning point, a critical moment – from it comes the concept of metaphor and the process of metamorphosis (metaphorically, to undergo dramatic change or transform).  It is the association of the physically obvious with the subtle, underlying principle that is often understood through a metaphor or analogy.  Aristotle defined physics and metaphysics as two of the four major divisions of his philosophy and he defined wisdom as the science of first causes (metaphysics).

Mythology is an avenue for understanding the metaphysics of a human condition, circumstance, event, or relationship.  Myths and mythology were developed and used, not just as a religious foundation and to try to explain inexplicable and uncontrollable natural forces, but also as a means of understanding the relationship between humans and the Divine.  It is the cosmic precept of “as above, so below” – what happens here on Earth is almost invariably (nothing in this physical world is perfect) indicated by the configuration of the Sun, Moon, planets and stars in the heavens.

In Greek myth, which is one of the most profound mythologies, the Sun, Moon and planets were not thought of as gods and goddesses but as representatives of the deities.  As such, they “tell” us by their nature and position in the sky (at a given time, such as a birth, or over a given time period).  When something or someone significant comes into your life, look for the metaphysical meaning behind the event/person.

Twenty years ago my parents died – just two months apart.  After my mother’s death, I cared for my dying father who lived in Daytona Beach – a five-hour drive from my home in Tallahassee.  In my absence, my house was robbed and I thought the Universe was being cruel by adding to the misery I was already feeling.  I found some of my stolen possessions at the local flea market where the thief was selling them but the police refused to follow up on this or anything about the case.  When I looked for what the deeper meaning of being robbed and then not being helped by the cops meant for me at that time, I realized that the theft was a metaphor for the suffering and helplessness I was feeling as I grieved the loss of my mother and the fact that I could do nothing to prevent my father’s imminent death.  Though I was angry with the thief at the time, I have now come to a place of compassion for him because he wore glasses with such thick lenses that he was blind without them – the metaphor being that he couldn’t see clearly the damage he was causing to his soul by stealing.  Astrologically, transiting Pluto was conjunct my Moon at the time, signifying my losses – through death and theft.

Another example is two clients who came to me, on separate occasions, to ask the meaning of them falling asleep while driving their car.  Fortunately, there were no injures except their cars.  I interpreted this event as a very literal metaphor that neither of them was getting enough sleep (both were exhausted at the time) but I also looked for the deeper meaning.  Both of them were experiencing a strong Neptune aspect to their Sun and this planet not only represents sleep but it is also metaphysically symbolic of letting go.  Both of these people needed to let go of the desire to overfill their schedule and try to do too much.  The metaphor, simply put, is wake up and pay attention to what’s really important (their health and well-being).

Years ago when I decided to become a professional astrologer, I traveled to the Southwest because that part of the country has many more astrologers than north Florida and I wanted to learn firsthand how they conducted their business.  Before I left, a friend of mine who is quite psychic told me about a dream she had about a black, dead horse at night in the road and that she didn’t know why but this horse posed a danger to me.  I said, “how interesting” and soon forgot it.  While in New Mexico, I was warned about how the livestock roam freely (especially on Native American land).  I then drove to “Dead Horse Ranch State Park” in Arizona where I spent the night.  On my way to “Dead Horse Point” in Utah, I drove through the Navaho Reservation and, instead of paying attention to all of these messages, I stopped for dinner on the way to the campground.  By the time I ate, it was dark.  On the 15-mile drive to the campground, I saw a number of Native Americans on both sides of the road so I slowed but not enough to avoid running over the black, dead horse in the middle of the road!  My car went down the road on two wheels like we see in the movies and, if I hadn’t kept a firm grip on the wheel, I could have lost control and flipped the car.  I wasn’t thinking metaphysics so I didn’t make the associations and heed the warnings, specifically about dead horses.  Afterwards, the wise astrologers I met asked me, “What dead horse are you beating?”  I realized that I had been staying in a dead-end job instead of quitting to pursue my ambition of being an astrologer.  When I ran over the dead horse, transiting Saturn (the past; fear of and resistance to change) was square (frustration) my Mars (action; doing what I want) from the 10th house (career aspirations, goals) in my birth chart and transiting Uranus (change, ingenuity, creativity), also in my 10th house, was squaring (tension, urge for action) the Sun (my identity; life force) in my chart.  Such experiences have taught me to always seek the deeper, metaphysical meaning behind life’s events.

*Echo is a monthly newspaper about community, the environment, health, cuisine, spiritual and other realities that is distributed in central Virginia.
Good Timing and Location are Keys to Success

Gary Brand, Traditional Astrologer
Tallahassee, Florida

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