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Astrology is about cycles. It describes the core elements of personality and how the ongoing patterns of the Sun, Moon and planets interact with them to describe life's likely experiences. The natal chart is the foundation based on one's moment of birth. That chart never changes, but how we express its potentials does as we grow and change. Astrology, then, is based on the relationship between a static point (birth) and the ever-moving rhythms of time.

The Eternal and the Ephemeral

The dance of the eternal and the ephemeral is played out throughout our lives. It appears in the opposing forces of being and becoming. Accepting ourselves as we are is a positive sign of emotional well-being. The capacity to acknowledge our unique qualities without denigrating judgment is a vital element of a healthy personality. Living in the present requires that we accept everything that is, including ourselves, without trying to change it. Yet, while we are the same person throughout life, we also evolve. The body changes, values shift and attitudes are altered over time. The ability to adjust to different ages and environments is necessary for our physical and psychological survival.

So we are and we are becoming. We have qualities that seem to be the very essence of who we are and others that burn brightly during childhood and fade from the scene by age thirty. There are traits or talents that are absent during youth, but appear as we mature. We could say that there is a timeless quality of self that is part of the DNA or, perhaps, of the soul itself, while other expressions of personality are simply passages within this more enduring structure.

As we move through life we encounter circumstances that challenge our notions of who we are. Intimate relationships frequently push us to question our beliefs and behavior. In the middle of an argument, it's common to be caught in the dilemma of defending oneself or accommodating our partner's desires. Are we surrendering our true selves by giving ground or are we crystallizing the wounds that limit us from within? It's a challenge to know when we are defending our authentic selves and our real needs, as opposed to stubbornly sticking to old habits.

A Question of Identity

It's logical to hold onto what we know, a simple question of identity. I'm me because I have certain beliefs and patterns of behavior. The need to maintain identity may be the most powerful of all psychological forces. That's why the question, "Would you rather be right or be happy?," is such a good one. Being right means knowing who we are. Being happy may require that we risk that sense of self-knowing to discover a different way to be. This is also the secret attraction that we can have to pain. Yes, even this most unpleasant of experiences has its compensating factors when it's familiar to us. If we tend to feel hurt in particular circumstances, we can be strangely comforted by the certainty it gives. If for example, you always suffer when your father yells at you, it can be hard to let go of that suffering. It's not only who you are, but it's part of who you are with your father. If you don't suffer when he yells, then you and the relationship are changing. The change may be for the better, but it can still feel risky to let go of the way things (and you) are.

Astrology is an awesome tool for describing an individual. Therefore, an astrological consultation can be a powerful affirmation of one's identity. When an astrologer who doesn't know you correctly tells you that your father was probably very cold and your mother overly emotional, it can feel like cosmic confirmation of your life. One seems less like an accident when her life is reflected in the sky above. But these affirmations can be double-edged swords. An astrological description of a trait like stubbornness, for example, may make it more difficult to change that behavior. If it's written in the stars, who am I to argue with it? Certainty wins, identity is reassured, the astrologer is right, but are you better off?

Non-static Natal Chart

Fortunately, many astrologers understand that the natal chart is only a two-dimensional representation of a particular time and place. It doesn't breathe, it doesn't bleed, it doesn't grow. Humans, however, jump off the page and make choices. They are filled with ideas from within and influences from without that are never still. Astrologers who understand this work with the balance between being and becoming, between the core moment and its many possible paths of development throughout life.

Nurturing the essential self will free it from its limitations, rather than hold it like a butterfly under glass. The truths of astrology, or any other system of knowledge, show the outlines of possibility, but not its substance. That is filled by each individual with his dance of discovery, ever moving between the poles of what is and what can be. Life can no more be held than one's breath. It is not a thing, but a process. Just as the Sun, Moon and planets continue their journeys across the sky, we, too, are in passage.


Jeff Jawer is a founder of He has been a professional astrologer since 1973 and is well-known as a writer, counselor and lecturer in North and South America, Europe and Australia.

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Other StarIQ articles by Jeff Jawer:

  • House Cusps and Systems   2/8/2014
  • We Are The Transits   1/4/2014
  • The Astrology of Intimacy   7/20/2013
  • Planetary Threads   7/13/2013
  • The Deconstructed Horoscope   6/1/2013
  • The Astrology of Awakening   9/28/2012
  • Astrology Apps for the iPhone   4/28/2012
  • AstroNews April 7, 2009   4/7/2009
  • House Cusps and Systems   8/27/2004
  • The Astrology of Intimacy   6/4/2004
  • Saturn in Cancer: Security and Insecurity   4/22/2004
  • The State of Astrology   10/12/2003
  • Jupiter Opposite Neptune   2/10/2003
  • Saturn-Pluto Revisited   9/20/2002
  • Astrology's Archaic Truths   6/27/2002
  • Astro-Ecology   6/13/2002
  • Creative Prediction   6/6/2002
  • Pisces to Aquarius   11/10/2001
  • Scorpio: Beyond Reason   10/24/2001
  • Caring Curious Carlos   2/25/2000
  • Doug Henning's Final Act   2/8/2000
  • WTO: Shaping the World's Economic Future   12/1/1999
  • The Art of (Non) Communication   10/20/1999

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