Improvisation IV (Afrique)

Several readers sent very positive comments about last week’s article, Spirit. A couple seemed surprised. One woman asked: are you saying astrology is connected to religion? That’s an interesting question. The short answer is that they are connected by the fact that both begin with the idea that there is a larger meaning to life and the universe. From there, their paths diverge, with astrology traveling the road of self-knowledge and religion following a much different path.

I’ll point out one aspect of that divergence with a quick story: years ago, I attended a talk by a rather well-known spiritual leader who asked for questions from the audience. A woman asked him what she should do about her anger. “Just don’t be angry,” he answered. “But how?” she persisted. “If you want to grow spiritually, just stop being angry,” he answered.

To me that exchange encapsulates a lot of what is wrong with what passes for organized religion: giving generalized advice for specific individual states. His advice was to tell her not to be angry, but maybe the woman needed to be angry. Maybe her current situation required her to be angry to change, to change not only herself but others around her. Or maybe she was an angry person, who just needed a legitimate channel for that energy. There are a bunch of potential scenarios here, but his only advice was: Bear it and don’t be angry. But that clearly was not option for the woman.

After the event, I searched for her outside and asked what she thought of his advice. “I guess I’m being tested and maybe it’s all for my greater good” was her response. Maybe. Or maybe she didn’t know herself well enough to understand what she needed to do.

Which leads me back to where this article started last week: Know yourself. And know your “selves”. So lets continue with looking at the Spirit. To find the Part of Spirit in a chart is to attempt to understand how and where the Spirit, the Self, the I AM, lives within us. Just as importantly, it’s an attempt to understand how active the Spirit is, how easily it can express itself. In some charts, it is strong; in some charts, not so much. Additionally, it’s not unusual to see the Part of Spirit opposed or in conflict with planets that have more worldly interests, which reminds me of the famous prayer of  St. Augustine: “Lord, make me pure, but not yet.”

In the chart shown, the Part of Spirit (called POS from here on) is marked with an S at the left side of the chart. The description that follows is a description of how this particular individual struggled to incorporate spirituality into her life. The formula to find the placement is as follows: ASC + Moon – Sun = Part of Spirit (Sun).



Part of Spirit

In the chart shown, the POS is located at 14 degrees in Cancer, very close to the Ascendant (the point is marked with an S on the left side of the chart). Any planet or point in the Ascendant, particularly when it’s close to the rising degree, is important. So for this reading, I would take their interest in spirituality, or religion, as being strong, and that they are aware of that impulse within themselves and that it is a primary impulse.

From here, we look at the sign and position of the planet ruling the Ascendant. In this case, it’s the Moon. Located in the 9th house (upper right of the chart where all those planets are) in Pisces, suggests that this is a person who sees it as their purpose in life to love others, to give to others, to surrender their substance to others. Why? The 9th house is the house of religion and Pisces is the sign of the breaking down of barriers. All those planets – through their connection to the Part of Spirit – suggests the need to serve, of a larger sympathy with the world. What is interesting is how many other Arabic parts are placed on or near this Ascendant, including:

* Part of Fortune

* Part of Happiness

* Part of Hyleg

* Part of Life

* Part of Passion

* Part of Wisdom and Patience

Was any of this accurate? The chart belongs to a woman who has been deeply religious since her early youth and works in a religious organization ministering to the poor. It’s difficult work, yet deeply satisfying to her. Perhaps not surprisingly, there’s a sense where her identity is swallowed up by her vocation. However, the anonymity of it seems entirely natural to her: “It’s not about me, it’s about something much larger than myself”.