Questions by various friends, and Answers by Swami Nirmalananda, abbot of Atma Jyoti Ashram
What do you think about astrology?
All that exists, despite the appearance of multiplicity, is really ONE in a very real and practical sense. And in every part the Whole is contained. Thus there is no possibility of separating ourselves from the universal life of creation except through transcendence. But until that transcendence occurs we must acknowledge our integral existence with all that "is." And part of that existence is the phenomenon of change wrought by the invisible tides of life.
Long before recorded history the wise observed that the human being was a miniature universe, a reflection of creation. Further observance revealed that changes in the external world–including the solar system–corresponded to changes in the individual's sphere of life. This was particularly noted in the matter of planetary movement. Thus it was discovered that the movements of the planets within the solar system corresponded to operations of biomagnetic and psychic forces within the individual person that were then reflected outward into the individual's environment or daily life routine.
The ancients understood that the planets were not the causes of the observed changes, but were merely indicators of forces operating deep within the magnetic levels of universal life. Further, the ancients understood that these magnetic fluxes produced a tendency toward certain conditions, or a state of favorability for the development of certain situations or conditions, but they did not believe that they were inexorable or unavoidable causes of those effects. The movements of the planets revealed the likelihood of certain effects, but not their inevitability. Therefore those who studied the movements of the planets were in no way fatalistic about their seeming foreshadowings. Rather, the movements of the stars were simply looked upon as indicators that certain times were more favorable for certain results and less favorable for others. And that is all. The fatalistic attitude that some people have mistakenly adopted in modern times was unknown.
The movements of the planets mostly indicate the character of prevailing biomagnetic influences–energies that are only slightly more subtle than purely physical forces. Most of the world's population is enmeshed in and controlled by such gross powers, although those who cultivate spiritual consciousness become less and less affected by those forces.
Consequently astrology can be used to comprehend what forces are moving within the collective psyche of "the masses." For example, we can certainly gauge the tendencies of national or international politics or economics by means of astrology. I well remember going to the First Temple and College of Astrology in Los Angeles every week to learn the world news of the coming week! In the class on Mundane Astrology, the astrological aspects of the previous week would be considered, and the accuracy of the predictions given at the previous class would be undeniably evident. Then, having seen that we had every reason to trust in the accuracy of her analysis, the instructor would proceed to reveal the major events of the next seven days. Only the most determined bigot could have failed to see that astrology was a viable science.
Astrology may be used to discover the hidden mechanisms of the personality. A wise parent should have a child's horoscope drawn up as soon after birth as possible, for it can be an invaluable guide to the parents in caring for their new charge. The horoscope will show the tendencies the child has brought over from its previous births and which are the seeds that are meant to germinate and come to fruition in the new life. But this is not meant to be accepted fatalistically or slavishly. Rather, the positive tendencies are to be cultivated to the optimum and the negative tendencies mitigated to the minimum.