What Is Astrology? (Part II)

doorway stars

by Ruth Hadikin

Part two of an essay written as part of the Foundation Programme for the Faculty of Astrological Studies, exploring whether astrology can be considered an art, a science or a system of divination, and what (if any) is the causal relationship between celestial patterns and life on earth…

I am coming to believe that Western Astrology originally had a holistic worldview at it’s root, which we have somehow lost as we have collectively fallen into dualistic, separative, thinking. This is beginning to change as astrology values and incorparates our intuitive[1] capacity.

When we perceive things holistically the issue of ‘cause’ and ‘effect’ loses relevance.  For example: imagine a shaft of sunlight shining on a prism, and the prism appears to split that ray of sunshine into a spectrum of rainbow light. Did the ray of sunshine or the prism ‘cause’ the rainbow? One could argue that point ad infinitum or one could choose to look more deeply. Looking deeply means trying to understand the essential nature. The sunlight didn’t cause the rainbow, the rainbow was already inherent in the sunlight. It is it’s essential nature. The crystal didn’t cause the rainbow, but because the essential nature of the prism is clarity, it allows the essential nature of the sunlight to be revealed. 

Through the wisdom of direct perception, the ancients who first coined the hermetic aphorism “As Above, So Below” probably understood the essential nature of the universe. Their astrology is likely to have been informed by direct experience. When they said ‘as above, so below’ I believe they were more likely to be speaking of the essential nature of things, rather than causation.

It is through direct perception that divination becomes possible. Once again if we look to the Tibetan system, divination is an inherent part because it was observed that as one’s perception becomes clearer, it is possible to perceive a continuum of energy where it’s clear see how events will pan out. Divination arises from clear perception, simple observation of the essential nature of things, and experience. For example, if I pour water onto sloping ground I can predict with some certainty that it will run downhill!  Likewise, through extremely subtle perception and exquisite observation, Bön masters make accurate astrological predictions simply because they observe and understand the essential nature of the universe.

When combined with clear, direct, perception astrology has the potential to help us understand the energetic reality underlying all cosmologies. It is therefore an extremely valuable tool for enhancing our understanding of the universe, each other and ultimately, ourselves.

The essential nature of the universe is connectedness. Everything is inextricably linked and quantum physics is beginning to show us the evidence in theories such as quantum entanglement[2] (where entangled particles still affect each other even over great distances) and the butterfly effect[3] (where a small change in one area can have a large effect elsewhere).  Furthermore, quantum physicist Dr. Amit Goswami resolves many of the paradoxes of quantum physics by proposing that everything in the universe is made from and connected by consciousness[4] .

It makes sense to me that if we are an inherent part of one ocean of consciousness, then anything that happens anywhere would send out ripples that we can detect. For me, astrology encompasses the language, science and techniques we use to understand and interpret ripples in our conscious universe! In Esoteric Astrology, Alice Bailey emphasized the importance of energy dynamics in understanding astrology:

"I cannot too strongly reiterate the constant necessity for you to think in terms of energies and forces, of lines of force, and energy relationships… The whole story of astrology is, in reality, one of magnetic and magical interplay for the production or externalization of the inner reality…" [5]

Yet even in her words we can see she is talking about ‘thinking’ which is a step down from direct perception. In the Bön tradition, an even deeper understanding comes when thinking has quietened down and what they call ‘the clear light mind’[6] arises, through which the energy of the universe is perceived directly.

In conclusion, we can consider astrology to be a science in the original sense of the word scientia[7] because it supports deeper knowing.  It is a holistic science through which we can comprehend a holistic universe. It is also a living language in which we actively participate. As such there is definitely an art to it, in using our creative skills and intuition when applying techniques and discerning interpretation.  When combined with clear, direct, perception, astrology has the potential to help us understand the energetic reality underlying all cosmologies. It is therefore an extremely valuable tool for enhancing our understanding of the universe, each other and ultimately, ourselves.

That's all for now see you next time, and in the meantime... happy exploring!

Best Wishes,


Artwork: "Doorway To The Stars" by Josephine Wall


Soul Path Astrologer Ruth Hadikin specializes in supporting you on your own greatest adventure: using Soul Astrology to explore your Soul Path and Life Purpose. Read more articles like this in her free newsletter.

© 1999-2024 Ruth Hadikin Associates, Suite 44, 4 Blenheim Court, Peppercorn Close, Peterborough PE1 2DU United Kingdom