I've just returned from spending time with my astrology teacher, Ernst Wilhelm, alongside fellow students and astrologers. There is so much that was given during this beautiful period of time that I cannot articulate, but there are a few things that I would like to share.
Astrology is an esoteric science and the study of it requires an esoteric process. There is endless amount of knowledge we can gain in this world about such subjects, but the mere accumulation of knowledge is not necessarily significant or meaningful. Astrology is the eye of the vedas (vedānga jyotiśa), or that through which we can see the lighted truth of life. Seeing is not only a vision, but an understanding.
It makes sense then that every night we spent hours looking at the planets and nakshatras through a telescope. In doing so, we were not just seeing physical planets in space, but understanding them. When the Divine appears in the form of the Guru, it is the very Sight of the Guru that transmits Realization to the devotee, and this is the meaning of Darshan. Gazing at the planets through the telescope each night was also a form of darshan, a sighting that was a receptive participation in the pattern and energy of the planets. What better way to study astrology than through direct perception?
The planets are only a reflection of what appears below them. What is revealed is a structure of consciousness that transcends the apparent difference and separation of these forms, a pattern of Transcendental Consciousness that is the life of all that appears. Astrology is therefore calling us to live a conscious life, to participate in the cosmic play with true vision. The esoteric message of astrology is that we can live in communion with life and the Consciousness that transcends it. We should study the great astrological texts, but we should also live a life of visionary understanding if we are to become seers. It is that contemplative openness that is the astrologer's meditation.
The study of astrology really has no end point, as I see it. There is no final goal, no final conclusion to what can be known. The study of astrology mirrors and entails the very process of living life. Consciousness requires a vessel in order to be known, just as the planets flow through a rāsi. The astrologer likewise has to become attuned to the stars and what they signify at the level of pattern, consciousness, and light. This requires vulnerability, not abstraction. An open heart is the conduit of knowledge, which is why Jupiter is exalted in Cancer (the sign that corresponds to the heart). Astrologers therefore must become lovers if they are to be true seers.
The Spiritual Guru is the Form in which Divine Consciousness is Revealed. But even all great teachers exemplify the crystallization of consciousness at one level or another. The secret of learning and growth is the transference of consciousness, or simply to spend time in the company of such people. We must study and prepare, but we must also be open to all that may flow into us through the excesses of grace. I am often asked what is the best way to study astrology, and my answer is to find a teacher, live life, and love. My deepest gratitude to Ernst Wilhelm and Srishti Wilhelm, my beautiful love Nicole Ortega for supporting me with great patience, and a special shout-out to Corey Dowds, Ryan Kurczak, Nicole Brenny, Channing Ayers, Karen White, and Laura Barat.